My Happy Place
by Sharmagne Leland-St. John

Comforting, inviting...
my happy place
where I spend
drowsy afternoons writing
and watching the hummingbirds
sip sugar water
from our feeders.

after lunch by the pool,
ask if we can go
up to my balcony
to read a book
chosen by them
from the antique armoire
in the morning room.

Dawson chooses dinosaurs–
Dylan a book about fairies.
We snuggle on the wicker couch
and I begin to read.

The view has changed dramatically
since that first day
when I decided to claim
this little neglected space as my own,
in a home that was not mine.

We painted the wicker
a deep chocolaty brown,
next the walls a coat of white,
spruced up the black ironwork railings.
and Victor washed
the ancient green carpet.

There was a window box
I filled with nutmeg-scented
geranium cuttings
from my home in Laurel Canyon,
A home I could no longer inhabit–
A home destroyed
by the storms of January.

I added a glass top
to the old disintegrating wicker table
and a festive tablecloth,
a vase for the ever-present bouquets
gathered on our daily walks.

Then came the hanging baskets
brim full of heart's ease pansies,
Johnny Jump-Ups, flax seeds,
nasturtiums, alyssum,
tulip bulbs and freesia
for spring blooms.

Two years hence one of my first
mosaic flower pots
from "Treetops"
found a place in the corner.

My view has altered greatly
and not for the best.
the wind storm of March
took down, toppled
our huge, 90-year-old
carob tree.

Now my view
is of neighbour Nick's house.
It was always there but hidden
by the sweeping branches
of that majestic old tree,
home to hawks and wrens,
sparrows and crows.

Now they are "unhoused,"
just like me....


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