While angling my mobile phone skyward in the village, trying to tease some reception out of a dearth of electro-magnetic skeins, an old man ambled towards me over the bridge. His face was entirely blackened by soot and grey ashes, and he was as thin as a rake. Next to me a local Republican politician pulled up in a hurry, got out of his car, jiving and shrugging still to the notes of the rebel anthem blasting from his stereo. Something to keep the blood stirred. The furious lust to stay living. The stout shop-keeper, a local woman named after a romantic town in a Shakespeare play, asked me casually was I enjoying the weather. A ragged old-timer nearby was digging through clots of heavy soil in the wilderness of his field. He had the rushes piled up like a hay-stack, and the old stones and found bottles saved close at hand in a heap. He had plans, he told me, to plant Peony Roses and Columbines.
”The eagle has landed,” I wrote in my text. ”Your book awaits in the shop by the river. Apologies for the delay.”