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They agree to return to the redwood canyon of their youth. Beneath towering giants, they recall the searing songbird calls, the draping moss and the morning light as it filters thinly through heavy fog and drizzling rain. She remembers the promise, and he, the hope.

Many years have since passed. She notes he no longer wears his hair long, and he studies her manicured hands, the diamond and its spark, and how it catches the light. Together they find the familiar path off the trail, and while he beckons, she stalls, considers, and she follows.

The damp dark soil sinks beneath her feet, the wet air curls her hair, and the atmosphere, so deeply green, savory, acrid and sweet, is familiar in her mouth. And he thinks how this path, this bend in the distance, is theirs alone; and she questions, is this the beginning, the middle or the end?

They work their way through the songbird trill, the hanging moss, the softened branches, the damp air and the lifting fog. And she held her breath and he, his own.

She views his farewell a beckoning, a tide, a relentless retreat, and a repeated approach. Was it she who begged the question? Was it he who left it unanswered? It didn’t matter.

Alone in her car, the Muirs cling to her fingertips, and she is unwilling to let go. The impatient songbird, persistent in its call, audible still, as each retreat to the sealed silence of four-door cars. They each know well the Muir songbird’s song. Its gut wrenching plea, a beautiful exclamation, an indisputable truth.

 

 

 

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