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He liked walking up here
with his wife, with his sons,
with a friend or friends.
When you are here with others,
the place is the occasion and
being with others is the event.
Those were good times.
Memories of them stayed
lively. Always his need
to go up here alone was
for the place itself. In time
it became a physical need.
Within the water-noise he was hearing the buzz-buzz
of some small bird. He couldn't identify it. Now, still
buzzing, the bird approached in stages, keeping hidden,
causing no movements of the leaves that might
give away its position, but keeping on the move and
both scolding him and sending out the news
of his presence here.
No voices, no other
sounds from above of people going by
up on the trail. The U.S. Forest Service built
the trail, he reminded himself. Trail that leads on
into these mountains -- and then on back
down to the narrow dirt road, that takes
you down to the locked gate, where the blacktop
begins, that takes you winding back
down toward.... His sense of things here today
was temporary. Well, so was any sense of things.
He thought of the phrase `the lightning fl ash
of reality' in a van Gogh letter.