Of course, the best peach treat is a fuzzy, yellow and pink orb, picked fresh from the tree, so ripe it drops into your hand at a touch, so full of sweet juice that when you bite into it, you have to lean out, mouth over the ground.

As we left, Lotty and I strung a garland of wild asters and daisies across the door, to be removed only by the bride and groom on the morrow, when they enter to spend their first night in their new home.

Across the meadow, and round a huge outcrop of granite, we heard the upper falls before we saw them–two high ribbons, one far above the other, glistening water cascading down a sharp escarpment.

My mom, Ruby, is as giddy as a school girl with Beryl’s widower dad, James, the two of them twitching and twittering at the least provocation, like young lovers. You would have thought they were the bride and groom.

I am absolutely certain, though others disputed it, that I saw a mountain lion standing on the bluff overlooking the roadway as it curved down into the big valley beyond the Village of Adriene.

You know how poorly I travel, Noah. I must harness all my strength for the trip.

Sometimes Bonnie picked an older child, or one of the adults. She would have no one but the one she ambled to when she saw the milkers coming. She would step close to her mark and shove her nose into their armpit.

We find her in the barn, her head in Jacob’s lap. Animals roam freely on the hills behind Ordinary, coming to the barn only for shelter. Weakened by illness, Bonnie must have sought comfort.

Sweat trickles from the band round my brow into my ears and down my cheek. The back of my hand, as I wipe my face, smells of dirt, more sweat and the oils of well-used, well-kept tools.

Gorged on wild berries, I’m deliciously full and sticky, lying here on the grass beside the stream, hat over my face, filtering just enough of the sun.