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I stand on the hill and look down. Below, a doe and her two fawns graze. Her babies are tiny and fluffy, with snub noses and fuzzy ears. She reaches her long, graceful neck upwards to nibble off the blackberries hanging over the rickety wooden fence. I take a few steps downward. She turns to look at me. I shouldn’t disturb her. I turn and walk down the opposite side of the hill, back the way I came.

Clouds like cotton candy drift overhead and a thick, lavender cloud mass nears from the west. The wind swirls around me. Down in Olympia is Lake Fair. There are to be fireworks, rides, and fun. But I don’t like the crowds. Olympia is crazy enough as it is without centering all its craziness downtown. We had our bit of fun here, us three girls getting our hair dyed (I look like Rogue from Xmen) and me learning to French braid. We watched a romance movie, trying to guess the plot and sighing at the sweetest scenes. Now, with the ending of the movie, they’re gone, and I’m out near dusk preparing for backpacking.

I turn and walk back up the hill again, proud that my stride is steady and my breathing comes easily. I reach the peak and look down. The doe and her fawns have left, vanishing off into the woods. I descend into the valley and pick my way among the thorns, filling my hands with blackberries. The flavors swirl around in my mouth–deeply sweet, tart, delicious. I pull my phone from my back pocket and check the time. Long enough. I let the darkness draw me home.

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