I went back to the meditation garden after lunch. I was supposed to be in water dousing class, but Miss Porter never frowned on self exploration. I was determned that if Salvia knew the secret of the meditation garden, then I would also.

As an energetic nine-year-old, the first thing you want to do through those infinitely long corridors is run. Run as if there is no end, because in this case there isn't. Something about the place, however, clamps down on that exuberation and makes you stop. It's not exhaustion. It's the quiet of the place. Other than a breeze that is barely enough to nudge the heavy cluster of wysteria, the only sound is a dry leaf skipping across the marble. My run slowed to a walk, became a pause, then I sat on the cool marble floor of one of the pavilions.

The far view was that of infinity, like the images you get when you are between two mirrors. The near view was of oneself amid faintly patterend marble and flower petals. It was then that I began to understand what sorcery was about. It wasn't about clever illusions or crafting something from unlikely materials. It was about the grandeur of the simple world about us and how not to take it for granted.

I was intoxicated by the perfume of nature and paralyzed by the way the gridded colonade framed it, contained it, yet made it accessible. I walked for a while, perhaps miles, before I stopped to sit on one of the benches.

Miss Porter entered the gazebo. "It's time to go back," she said.

"I'm not lost," I said.

"Of course not. But there is a such a thing as too much meditation for one day."

That's when I knew that Miss Porter and I had a special relationship. And how little time most girls spent in the meditation garden.

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