The new tenant of the old Thomas place sat in the patio and looked at the queen’s wreath boiling over the aged but not crumbling wall. The Thomas place was on a side street in Manacle, Arizona, and the wall protected it from and insulated it against the business of the town. Off in a comer of the patio in a clump of oleanders stood a small igloo made of malpais rocks. From its entrance a little path led out into the grass and then disappeared. The new tenant judged that some sort of small animal lived in the queer shelter, but she had not yet seen the animal nor could she imagine what it might be. She had only been in the old Thomas place a week and had been too busy getting herself settled to become acquainted with its denizens.
The patio was exceedingly bushy and badly in need of weeding, trimming and mowing. Apparently no one had touched a hand to it since the old Thomases had died. Not that the vegetation seemed to object. There had been much rain, and the grasses, flowers, trees, shrubs and vines were exuberant in their abandon. Well, they had grown there for ages, and whatever needed to be done could wait a while longer. The plants were certainly not asking to be clipped, pruned, raked and spaded. The new tenant felt very content just to sit there in her garden chair and contemplate the quietly rioting green things in their refuge behind the wall.