Once a year we gather here, on pilgrimage, to learn from sages, firebrands. We are anointed, as we come and go, by the Lindens. Some years, at this moment, the trees rain white petals. This year they are nearly done, yet the fragrance lingers. My head brushed the leaves and spent blossoms as I made my way to the theater to listen to the masters teach. Now I find myself walking under them, again and again, like a deer at an apple tree, neck craned, devouring the last scent of the season. Because I met the Lindens late in life, they surprise me every year. Next year, I promise myself, I will come in time to walk beneath the raining blossoms like a bride beginning life again.
D.D.'s locked out of her van and needs a ride home to get her spare keys. "Better stop at my house, first," so we do for a minute then back out of the drive, on our way. Sunny day, windows down, drinking in summer by the bucketful. Fill up now to make it through strings of gray days that are sure to come, that in fact might interrupt summer in a heartbeat. Seconds from the driveway my head jerks left. Through the window, sight follows sound rising pyramidal from an unmown field, a cacaphonous black cloud. "Wha..?" out of my slack jaw." Then "EAGLE!" He's not ten feet away, five feet off the ground, emerging from the black murder, crows swirling in his wake. He and we veer right, trailed by mad fury. Limp in the hunter's grasp, a white gull swings in some weird state of lifeless grace.