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evenly spaced. The waterfall was bright white,
small and steady. It dropped from the V
formed by a pair of big, clean boulders
up above. And it can't be improved upon,
he thought.
He was out of sight
from the trail above, and from the far bank
where the slope was steep and the trees
and the undergrowth too dense for a hiker
to force. He was alone with the place.
He worked out of his pack the box
he'd squeezed a big sandwich into.
He positioned three river-stones on
the slope, to set the box upon. It was almost
level. He drew out his thermos, steadied it
between his boots, and with the edge
of a piece of fl at, thin sandstone
that had broken cleanly, loosened
and levelled the soil between two rocks,
unscrewed the thermos cup, and pressed
the rounded bottom into the ground,
rotating it back and forth, to make a socket
for the cup to stand in; and then slowly
fi lled the cup with coff ee. He replaced
the stopper and laid the thermos on the slope,
its base against a boulder. There was no spot
to stand it on. Then he ate, and watched
the yellow leaves revolving at the lower end
of the pool. They went counterclockwise. Those
in front of him travelled upstream, then swerved
back across the water, rejoining the main current
where it drove against, then along, the far bank. Then,
slowing and swinging on back around, the leaves
came toward him on the quiet water. Alder leaves,
brilliant where sunlit, bright in the shadows.