At the Edge of the Forest, Close to Home

Usually they’d bring their mother pussy willows or bulrushes from the field not far from their home, the place where the streets of houses ended and the scruffy, weed-infested land began. This was in the late 1950s, when they were still children, brother and sister. They’d often walk through those fields, their calves scratched by the stubborn wild grass, on their way to the creek. They’d search for toads and pollywogs there, leaning over the brook to watch the gentle braiding of sun into water.

It was to be the last season the sister and brother would be friends, digging in the mud side by side, riding bicycles through the neighborhood, or walking through the fields. Their interests would diverge, and they’d meet friends who would replace the close companionship they once shared. In the decades that followed, the sister would think back to this season as the time when the family was most perfectly in tune.

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