The chimney in the middle.1


At the end of the street where all the big oak trees lived, there also lived an unusually small ant.  Not only was he unusual because of his size, but because he loved to spend his days inside the house at this corner.  It was a big house with lots of floors that almost reached up to the treetops, and lots and lots of windows to let in the sunshine on a beautiful day.  It was a yellow house, so when the forsythia was in bloom this very corner was ablaze, radiating love back to the sun.

This ant loved to live on the very top floor of this house where there was a small room, not quite finished.  The floor was made up of wide, rough planks of pine with knotholes.  Sometimes things disappeared down into these, never to be seen again.  The windows were large and round, so that when it stormed with angry wind and rain, it felt like a ship at sea.

But, the best part about this room was that a young boy lived up here too – well, not exactly lived, but let us say that he spent most of his time here.  He had made it into a fort, like boys do, but it was a bit different.  Instead of army men lining the wooden crates, he had old coffee cans of quills, paints, brushes and an old Ball jar with bluish water.  Among these were scattered pine cones, acorns, leaves, and anything that interested this young boy.  But, the very best part about this room at the top of the house was the chimney in the middle of it.  It was old and crumbly, with sand falling out here and there, but that didn’t matter.  Pete’s mom had let him bring her big old pillows here, so he could sit on the floor and lean against the chimney, as one might lean against an old friend for comfort.  He spent hours and hours up here, in all the seasons and all kinds of weather, drawing or just sitting…well, sometimes even singing to himself.  All this the little ant observed from his own secret spot on that very chimney.

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