It was good he had stolen forth into the ardent glory of the noon-time, for if he had not he never would have learned about the place where the world stops. Only a few of us have found out about that place. You don’t think about it at all, and then, pretty soon, you do think about it. The way David learned of it was a new way. He laid him down upon the petunia bed—dear, old-fashioned flowers, lavender and pink and white, that peeped between the palings of the white fence—he laid him down and smelled deep the good, queer smell of them, and like the flowers themselves, he, too, peeped between the bars into the vast world which lay beyond. And that is how he learned of the place where the world stops.
Down a long, long lane—down there, a little way past the cottonwood tree, where the lane quits going on, that is where the world stops. You know that is the place because of the awesomeness that comes to you. The old cottonwood stands sentinel over that region of the Great Beyond. So tall and big and still he is that if you look at him awhile you will get the strange feeling of things. High up in the glossy leaves one can sometimes hear a little pattery sound, finer than the crinkle of tissue paper—a pretty little sound like a quiet sprinkle of cooling rain. When he does that he is whispering to the clouds that bring the freshness of the summer shower.
Beyond him, down there where the world stops, is the place where the clouds go to sleep after their long, slow journeyings across the deep, sweet blue of the sky.
“What does my little boy see with his two big, shining eyes? And what does my little boy hear?”
It was Mother’s voice above him that was thus humbly asking admission into the strange world he had found, and so well she knew it was marvelous fine, this world of his, that she snuggled his cheek against her cheek, and tried and tried, in her poor, grown-up way, to understand all the pretty things the great silent tree was whispering to the clouds.
“Is it there?” she asked very softly and very earnestly. “Is it down there that the clouds go to sleep?”
And they remained together, these two, side by side, thinking about the sweet go-to-bed place of the clouds. A silence which was new to them, a cool and reposeful silence, had come upon them and held them. They were conversing in a language which has no words. It was a melody in silver—the spirit of motherhood, the soul of childhood blending into music, bringing them nearer, deepening their love and making it more dear to them.
They understood each other, that woman and that little boy. They did not move. David had taken hold of Mother’s hand, and he held to it while they kept on looking down there, afar off, where the great silent tree was softly whispering to the summer clouds.
DEAD SEA FRUIT