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Breathlessly

Judith Toy

Blog #6 of 241

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September 9th, 2019 - 09:26 AM

Breathlessly

She learned to tell time with her skin, as morning turned to afternoon and the mountain’s breath began to bear gently on the back of her neck.

--Barbara Kingsolver, Prodigal Summer

The bright orange Jewel and the purple Joe Pye weed signaled oncoming Autumn as if each bloom were a bell. Remember, thought Liza, to cherish these blossoms. Crows gathered to gossip in groups as small birds quietly took their leave. The coyotes were back in force, waking Liza and Brennan in the night, as if to warn them of trouble. Yet the days were still summer-warm and benevolent, the lake like sun-heated silk. Liza abandoned the sling. Her physical therapist had recommended swimming. So she and Brennan hiked down to Heron Lake and began again to enter its waters like a baptism every day. Again, all she could hear were the cricket/katydid chorus and the sound of her own breath.

Then she spied a great blue heron hunting the shallows on the far-right shore. Paralleling the shore, she swam toward it. At times she thought she'd imagined the sight, (was that nothing but a stump?) yet inch by inch the magical bird came into focus. Brennan disliked the long distance swimming, so he swam back to shore and followed her progress on foot. Half an hour later, just as she was yards away from the bird, Brennan splashed into the water, spooking the heron. It spread its majestic wings and flew off.

It would not be many more days that the two of them could take a swim before cold weather prevented it.

This week would mark the first mediation session in Amaland. She had postponed her story gathering at the Monday church, to allow her shoulder to heal. It ached like the devil as Liza dreaded the prospect of trying to get the kids to talk. They were bound in the way of the downtrodden, to silence. Yet she almost breathlessly looked forward to spending a couple of hours with Jasper. Jas for his part was as usual taken up with events at the church, his negotiations for the nuclear non-proliferation movement, his music, his life. I'd better cook for him, thought Liza. She would call him that evening and ask him for supper after the mediation. He would accept. All was falling in her favor, thought the widow with the stab wound in her shoulder.

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