I’d pulled in for gas on the long drive home and across the street I saw the sign on the hill. FOR SALE: RESTAURANTS/RETAIL, 2.7 ACRES. The hill was low and rounded with tall wheat-colored grass growing all the way to the top. It was the only acreage in sight that was just plain land – no buildings, no roads, just a smooth hill covered with grass. Weary from my drive I just stared at the hill and the sign and thought, why can’t it just remain a hill? Do we really need more retail outlets? More restaurants? It seemed like an oasis in the middle of noise and chaos and concrete and it made me sad. Then I saw him out of the corner of my eye – the grayish black tomcat, making his way up a path through the grass. He walked with a walk that said he’d been up that path many times, one that said this was his hill.
I sat and watched him. Once or twice, he turned and looked back down, perhaps surveying the world below, knowing that his hill would soon be plowed under to make way for more of what isn’t needed. This is his hill. He can saunter through the dry grasses and listen for little mice scurrying along. He can stretch out, obscured from all who pass, and pretend he’s a lion out on the savannah; he can reconnect to his ancestors who roam freely in their wide open spaces. Didn’t the ones who put up the sign know that this hill was already taken?