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CELEBRATING CREATIVE EXPRESSION AT BAYLOR SINCE 1966

Periaktoi Writing Post

Volume 52
Issue 2

Single Visual Art Post

  • Essay
My Happy Place
Ridley Browder

Swaying back and forth, my arm peeks from the shadow, teasing the sun to give it a warm kiss. Rays of sun sneak through the trees and reflect onto the water below, creating a romantic sanctuary where I can unwind— this is the spot where heaven meets earth. My callused heels scrape the grey, planked floor, and, just beyond the sandy yard that lay ahead, the dark, green canal winks at me. I smile back, and its companion, the strong breeze, whispers a salty compliment in my ear. Mr. Edward paddles by slowly in his bright red canoe; the lustrous red reflection on the water contrasts perfectly with the blues and greens already filling the landscape.

Grandmom and Pop's vibrant yellow house towers over the ground on its tall legs, providing me a cool oasis to hide from the sun's infatuating glare. The little ones are playing with the hose, the palm trees are bristling in the wind, the geese are begging for more bread, and "Sweet Home Alabama" is ringing in my ear. This is one of those special homes where memories are made.

Dusk sets in. The rest of the sky dove into a subtle grey and purple color, just enough to announce the sun’s impending fall. As if an artist smeared his brush across the sky, the yellow ball of fire slowly sinks beyond the horizon, mingling magnificent hues of red, orange, purple, and pink. These are the colors of nature, the purest shades, the shades that leave warm smiles in your heart.

The colors soon faded, and night had fallen no more than an hour ago, leaving only a matte black canvas with no stars to be looked upon. My fuzzy blanket swaddled me throughout the journey from home, just as it's doing now. Other than the darkness and myself, all that seems to exist is the chilly wind's bite, leaving its mark in the form of small bumps, raising every hair on my body. Little by little my toes go numb, but still I sit in a state of euphoria, basking in and appreciating the crisp night. Heavier and heavier, my eyes flutter shut.

The strong aroma of smoky bacon combined unrelenting gaws of the seagulls invite my curious eyes to look around. Every time I reach the peak of the archaic hammock’s swing, the moss covered rope connected to the rusted metal hooks let out a rhythmic whimper, crying out of old age. I find this hammock as a place to barricade myself from all troubles, a cloister where I can bathe in the beauty of God’s creation.

Baptisms, Easter Sundays, Christmas Eves, Thanksgivings, and every summer, spring, and fall, I find myself swaying in that old, beat-up, hammock. Through the past sixteen years, through every boo-boo, sun burn, and creak she has groaned at me, that hammock hugs me so tight. Man, has she shown me love.