The setting is a pool stemming from the Salinas River valley. The scene depicted is peaceful. Prior to the entrance of George and Lennie, the scene is also teeming with wildlife. When George and Lennie arrive, the animals scurry for cover.
The rabbits hurried noiselessly for cover. A stilted heron labored up into the air and pounded down river. For a moment the place was lifeless, and then the two men emerged form the path and came into the opening by the green pool.
George tells Lennie to return to this spot if any trouble occurs at the next job. This place is their refuge or sanctuary. It is, in fact, the one place in the entire story where they (namely Lennie) have no trouble fitting in: in the wild, in nature, away from others.
As chapter 1 draws to a close, signs of animal life return, including a carp, a dove, and coyotes. The peaceful setting combined with the natural, yet wild, animal life gives the two travelers a naturally peaceful refuge. This "natural wild" is also symbolic of Lennie himself who has good intentions and is generally peaceful, but when frightened, he can act like a wild animal.