I carry my bag, my table, my folding stool, my extra pillows, over wet ground in the dim light. A sodden Douglas fir cone or two challenges my footing, but they roll half-heartedly and stop: not really treacherous. And the wet brown needles clump like the coagulating agents of some giant circulatory system. Other places I've lived, you might have to watch your step: here, not really. Everything is watching out for you. Push slows down to leave room for Shove to change lanes on the freeway: and the moon, the full moon, rose between the outlined buildings this evening, with a cloud thrown carelessly over her shoulder. What have we to do with grown-up things? We are children, coddled, if neglected; children to the last.
But still, there is a smell of tannin on the rain. The heart of this country is not tame, and it remembers other things: fishermen singing on the river; girls carefully stripping cedar; women holding onto their canoes, neck deep in the water, digging the wapato from the mud with their toes. The moon brings them to mind, on a night like this. They lived here far longer than we have: but now even their ghosts have given up walking. All the land is empty under the moon: and if the trees whisper, it is only to each other. Other children, other times.