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For Dewar

Heidi’s father strode up the granite-strewn trail that led towards Desolation Valley leading his rag-tag crew of wife, children and their friends into the Sierra wilderness. They hiked onward past Echo Lake and the Boy Scout camp—the squeals and echoes of the boys’ camaraderie pierced the solitude and then could be heard no more. Mr. Cole was an adventurer; he dreamed of sailing on a self-hewn ship to Tahiti—of course with family aboard. His wife had other plans, but the children adored him. He captained their summer adventures in the mountains showing them how to pitch a tent, start a reputable fire, protect themselves from the bears and trap game. And now as they walked under the cool shade of Douglas fir with the scurrying sounds of the squirrels and sparrows in the kingdom of high branches, they could see a change up ahead. The trees began to recede as the timberline approached, and the blistered azure skies that reigned in the upper reaches of the peaks provided no shade. Granite that was belched forth a million years ago covered the ground in looped and twisted roundness. All was a glare in this new whiteness and stillness of a mountain afternoon. The children became thirsty and had long since stripped down to t-shirts and shorts while Mother had covered their noses with a glob of zinc ointment giving them the touch of clowns. The captain seeing his ranks were failing gave good cheer that up ahead was a pothole lake where they’d camp; and sure enough, within a few minutes march the lake appeared. It sparkled and beckoned his crew, they who plunged into the emerald waters, and the water chilled to the bone—water that was snow fed. Everyone giggled and called each other chicken. Overhead an eagle swam in the silence of the updrafts and downdrafts of his life


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