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A heron winged over a peerless reflection of the violet and gold sky. She is a perfect silhouette, dusted with ripples as wing tips dip down. Each wing beat is slow, slow, slow. Nearly as still as the thick air. Thick and slow as oil. Swallows chatter as I near–Crunch, crunch, crunch over the rocky shore and stranded seaweed. The silky kin sound the alarm in a disjointed array of notes. I click back to them, and they still. I hear the patter of water and enter into the alcove of greenery where water falls down the cliff face. And then onward again. The ripe smell of seaweed is strong in my nose. A bit too strong. I look ahead, and at the swallows’ pilings behind. How far until I am trespassing on private land? I can never remember. Earlier, as I walked by the houses, a little boy of about three held a squirt gun in my direction, his older brother looking on. “Person, who are you?” the three-year-old asked in a gruff voice. I raised my eyebrows and made a face. “I’m a dark, scary monster. Beware!” The boy took a moment to digest this, and then he dispatched me as I walked onward to the shore, ducked under the railing, jumped to the driftwood below. The tide is out far. A rowboat is pulled high on the shore. Once, when the tide was in close, I snuck aboard and balanced on two legs as the waves rocked it to and fro. Again, past sunset. There’s some fancy rig out on the water now. I don’t recognize it, and I keep a wary eye on the strangers and their pearly yacht. I stopped earlier to chat a bit with the tall, white-haired man who carries a cockatiel on his shoulder and looks like a sailor. Last summer I was playing fiddle on the front porch, and the bird squawked back at me. I’m not sure if that’s a compliment or not.¬†Sometimes it seems like everyone knows everyone in our community. I know where the goldfinches will alight like fresh buttercups at the wayside and in the pink tree. I know what the ancient climbing rose smells like. I know why the two neighbor ladies walk two of their corgis in strollers. I know where that one crow likes to admire himself in the window. Is that all so strange? To not have wanted to live in a place, and then to fall in love with it? A year and a few months. Perhaps sometimes that’s all it takes. The air here is heady and strong. Full of magic.

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