top of page

Richardson Grove

South Fork of the Eel River

Home of the Coast Redwoods

Home of the Sinkyone and Wailaki tribes

Humboldt County, Northern California

This river is where we swam as children. Not together, but around the same time, with our own families, on our own camping trips, with our own canvas tents and green metal lanterns and Coleman stoves. Our own parents, carrying their own worries, but not here. Our own siblings and cousins, with their own baggage, unknown and unopened, because it was still early.


Eight summer vacations between both of us—or maybe six. Time is slippery these days.


We discovered our confluence at the beginning of our relationship, pouring over family photo albums, scavenging for clues into the others’ history. We immediately recognized the river and trees with crowns we couldn’t yet see. The square pictures with scalloped edges tucked in four black corners show each of us floating on our own air mattress, scanning the rocks with our fingertips, squinting for the camera. We search the backgrounds for a pony-tailed girl and crew cut boy, smiling and squinting for another mother, just outside the frame.


I can still feel the air mattress, purchased for $3.99 at Thrifty Drug Store, suitable for sleep or play, as long as the leaks are patched each evening. The built-in plastic pillow, how our legs stick, how the air would seep out, but just a little. A sixty-year memory for $3.99 is a pretty great value.


The river is low and narrow today, as are most in California, especially this time of year, especially this year. Steve is already in the water, and I am toes-in only. Occasionally a fish jumps, though I can’t vouch for the fish, just the splash.


I notice the hair on his chest has turned white, reminding me of his dad. At 91 and 65, they’re closer in age than anyone wants to admit. Counting the bumps and bites on my own body, I puzzle at how my feet have turned into my grandmother’s. The women in my family are barefoot, even in winter, so I know my grandmother’s, and mother’s feet, as well as my own. I’m almost the age my grandmother was at our wedding, and she was always old to me. I remember twenty, when our skin as tight and smooth, and on hot summer days we’d hike to Upper Bidwell to swim, no suit required.


Same. Different. New. Old.

Rocks. Water. Trees. Sky.


Three heart-shaped rocks on the beach today, though the third is skinny and wonky, but the top dips in and the bottom points out, and three in two days is remarkable, especially for hearts.


The river is green, sometimes brown, and in the deepest spots, indigo. It seems to be reflecting the trees, five shades of green, instead of the sky. The gray and white rocks turn brown as they climb up the mountain. The sky is the exact same shade of blue everywhere, without a hint of cloud. With each gust of wind, the lower trees turn their leaves, revealing soft undersides. The sway starts low and moves up to the next row, as if they’ve just discovered a secret worth whispering. The redwoods, at the very top, are still. They’re hundreds of years old, and it takes more than a summer breeze to impress them.


Same. Different. New. Old.

Rocks. Water. Trees. Sky.

Downstream a group of families gather on a spit of land. They're settling in under a giant sunshade, maybe ten children under the age of eight, not counting the two babies on mama hips. Their floaties include the usual rings and rafts, a purple seahorse and a watermelon slice. I’m fascinated by the huge white unicorn with the rainbow mane and tail, golden horn and pink wings. Steve says, “Someone had to blow all of that shit up.” I think someone must have paid more than $3.99 for such a work of inflatable magic.


Rivers merge with streams and creeks, lakes and oceans. We have been together longer than not, with matching gray hairs, one bad back (his) and a few extra pounds (mine). We have made a marriage, a business, and a family. But today we are right here, with our fluid memories, and a river full of rocks that feel like home.


Composting with Friends
Hendy Woods State Park, Philo, CA


She’s trying her best, but it’s been a long summer, and it’s still only June. Forest has been doing this nature/nurture gig for hundreds of years, maybe thousands. But who’s counting? 


She always begins with a simple wave, welcome, and assessment. As she’s coached the others, it’s all about listening and timing. Understanding we can’t fix everyone, just provide a soft-landing spot and a little inspiration, with the opportunity to make a choice and a change. 


Dirt and delight. Leaves and loneliness. Pine and pity. Lichen and love. Acorns and awe. Forest knows we’re all just compost. What she has, what they bring, what she gives, what they leave behind. Making mulch for another day.



Sam can wait. After she left, Sam waited a few weeks and packed the Subaru with his fishing gear. Luck landed him here, by the river, in a shaded site with enough sunlight to remain slightly optimistic. 


Sam doesn’t require much, only morning coffee, afternoon hikes, and a campfire whiskey. Forest provides agreeable weather, perfectly spaced hammock trees, and a cushy, level spot for his tent. Sam hangs his hammock, and Forest tosses a little moss to see if he notices (he doesn’t).


He leaves behind empty peanut shells and a few regrets, now mixed with brown leaves, pine needles, broken twigs, and tiny cones. To be honest, Sam isn’t giving her much to work with and Forest is a little bored by him. Maybe he’ll be ready for a more significant exchange in a few weeks. Or maybe he’ll wait.


She arrives in a 1974 Ford Econoline, with portholes for windows, a peeling U.S. decal on the driver’s side, pulling at the Florida corner, otherwise intact. Linnea brings her own wildflowers; one bunch for the table, one for the river. 


Linnea’s van may be worn out, but she always shows up in style. Last year it was a Pendleton-ish jumpsuit that may have come directly from the 1991 Grateful Dead tour. Once it was a black and white checkerboard parachute cape, turning her into a life-sized race flag. Today it’s jeans and a t-shirt with a remarkably real-looking tiara. When the sun hits just right, the tiara’s crystals scatter prisms over the site, making this the first time a disco ball has camped here. 


This year Linnea is calm and resigned, rather than solemn and sad, even on the morning she pulls out the film canister with the ashes. As Linnea sits by the river, E. arrives for his appointed flyover. He’s handsome and confident—white head, black feathered body, and white tail. E. swoops over Linnea and spends the day observing her from the laurel tree across the water. E. is attentive but not intrusive, and Linnea enjoys his company. He invites his family, including the babies, to come by for the afternoon. 


Forest is grateful for Linnea’s annual visits. Her flowers and sadness are easy to absorb and recycle. She’s unsure how to use the tiara Linnea left behind, but she’ll figure something out.


Elliot arrives with his Dad, Rob, and his big brother, Evan. So far, they only camp on weekends, but Dad talks about an epic trip into Desolation Wilderness in the High Sierras, where they’ll backpack for days and poop in the woods. That sounds just terrible to seven-year-old Elliot. But Elliot doesn’t mind this place. Regular bathrooms are nearby, plus a river and a hollow laying-down tree that might be a secret reading spot. Uncle Mike and the cousins are here too, noisy and distracting, but they keep Evan busy and out of Elliot’s way. 


Forest is delighted that Elliot appreciates the downed redwood trunk and hopes he enjoys the mossy backrest, perfectly shaped for a small and curious boy. Elliot likes running around with his cousins and enjoys hot dogs every night for dinner. Each day he climbs into his tree trunk to think about important stuff, like how many moons can fit inside the earth, why are some smells stinky and other smells sweet, where do dreams go during the day, and what happened to the tooth he lost when Evan chased him through the trees yesterday?


Tonight Forest gives Elliot a clear view of Venus, bold and bright, with Mars sitting patiently to her left, and the Milky Way that he will notice first and point out to the others. He’ll show them the lesser-known constellations that require more imagination to link stars to stories. When he returns home, it will appear to everyone that Elliot grew a few inches over the weekend.


When William lies with his heart burrowed into the dirt, he feels the tree roots working their way toward each other. He hears the chipmunks scurrying below and notices the wind change her mind and direction. William understands which fish will be willing to go to the front of the queue (this is a catch-and-release river) and which deer are available for campsite visits. He knows which stars will show themselves (Venus and Mars have been reliable lately) and reminds the pines to disperse their cones in a pleasing pattern. 


Forest values William as a collaborator and appreciates his help developing new offerings each season. She collects treats all year long and leaves them around the campsite for him to discover. They both love their games of hide-and-go-sniff so much they don’t even keep score. 


Sometimes he overhears his humans whisper, “Old William isn’t much of a scout anymore; he’s more of a sleeper.” They don’t understand that dirt sleeping is working from the ground up—and his compost and compassion tasks would be easier if he weren’t always attached to this damn leash. 


William buries his favorite bison bone and tries not to worry about his humans, who aren’t getting any younger either.


Sea Change

Seacliff State Beach, Aptos, California

Santa Cruz County

Awaswas Territory        

How must she feel? To be responsible for myth and miracle, showing up every day with the churn and crash required to satisfy the job description. Does she ever wish to be a lake or river instead? Are there days when she’d prefer to be a seasonal pond with reduced expectations, fair compensation for the mud and mosquitos?


Is she happy?


Do the kelp and coral recognize Ocean’s willingness to keep pace with the changing tides, just because Moon has its own ideas about scheduling? Do the octopus and whale and jellyfish, the gull and pelican and plover on the shore, the sand and abandoned seashell and driftwood not yet smooth, the swimmer and surfer and sailor and Rosalie who sells shave ice from her rainbow cart on the south end of the boardwalk while her husband and son fish from the north pier, appreciate the creativity that goes into each and every single wave? Do the sea turtle and snorkeler and the college kid on the beach who preps cabanas for today’s guests, bringing them cocktails and fresh towels, understand the stress their Ocean endures to take care of their needs? There’s a certain push and pull when one is in cahoots with the moon,
you know.


I’m no different from the plankton and crustacean, the barnacle and the buoy and the old lighthouse on the point that enjoys new life as a guesthouse for the intrepid cyclist who seeks a view with his room. I’m as selfish as the others, asking the broad horizon with the barely visible curve and the rolling waves that shimmer in the fall when the light is low, to swallow my sorrows and set me straight.


What do we owe her?


The great white shark circling the reef in Western Australia may know. The sea snail circling the algae that will soon be supper, the shy boy poet who collects sand dollars and words that sing, and Kiri, who mends fishing nets in her village, as did her mother and grandmothers and aunties before her­­—they all know.


The iceberg and glacier, and by association, the penguin and puffin, know. The scientist at McMurdo Station, and the baker on a seasonal contract for the third year, who is also an artist who studies the reflections of water and ice, both know. The starfish and cuttlefish don’t know, not yet. But the urchin and mollusk will clue them in when the time is right.


Is she weary? 


Does she grieve the oil spills, plastics that refuse to decompose, immigrants lost in a leaky boat? Who comforts Ocean when the moon is just a sliver, and she has to keep the tides shifting on her own?  Will there be a moment, close to solstice, when Ocean might whisper to Moon, “Let’s give it a break.” Moon would resist at first, but she is a good listener, and Ocean can be quite persuasive.


Moon will eventually acquiesce, and agree they both deserve a rest, at least for a phase.
Maybe two.


The Trees in Question

Joshua Tree National Park


The desert is the ultimate come-as-you-are party; just bring water, closed-toed shoes, and appreciation for wabi-sabi in your landscape. This is a contrary place—harsh, hopeful, bent, broken, vibrant, fragile, never changing, always changing, reverent, resilient, redeemed. We’re here for seven nights, camping in the center of the park. All sky, rock, and gratitude.


The desert takes my breath away. I blame the Joshua trees. Every tree. Every time. Give me a park with 800,000 acres of them, and I am both breathless and speechless. It’s magic, no matter where you look, especially when you circle sunrise to sunset, into the moonrise, and back again. I expected some green ground, maybe even a few wildflowers, but it’s still early spring, and it snowed last week. 


The trees feel tired this year. Some aren’t even standing, though not yet prone. Bending over, bowing to the ground, I name my favorite “the giving up tree.” 

I could be wrong, and it’s yoga day at the park; they’re not giving up, but easing into Downward Dog before transitioning to a well-earned Savasana. What do I know about a tree’s spirit and soul? 


Though they’re spaced twenty feet apart, it’s easy to imagine the groves as an extended, connected family: the elderly grandmother, a wayward son, mischievous cousins, aunties sharing secrets, and the widower next door who’s been a friend so long he’s now an uncle. 


Bent, broken, or resilient?


The Chollas are bottom burned—still glowing as the sun lowers itself for the evening. Don’t touch, the signs say. Don’t get too close, other visitors say. The cholla spines will latch into your skin, it will be unpleasant and painful, the guidebooks say. How must it feel to be a cautionary tale feared by tree huggers and tourists alike?


At home, hanging over my desk, I have a treasured photo from my grandparents. It’s a black and white desert scene, hand-tinted with a soft blue sky, wispy clouds, blooming ocotillo, and a rock canyon. 

In the morning light I feel like I’m in that hand-tinted landscape. Maybe the light is how the desert balances the harshness, so we can stay a little longer, look a little closer. So we won’t be afraid of spikes and stickers and how falling off a rock or into a plant would hurt like hell.


Joshua trees only grow in the Mojave Desert in California, Arizona, Utah, and Nevada, between elevations of 2000 and 5000 feet. They grow two to three inches a year, taking 50 years to reach full height. They live for about 150 years, though some live twice as long.


These trees aren’t expected to last the century. Seventy more years. Damn climate change.


The campground is empty today, and I’m the only witness to the ravens and lizards and wind saving her gusts for later tonight. The climbing rock behind me, officially named the Manure Pile, looks like an old man’s butt. I refer to it as Butt Crack Rock just for giggles. We occasionally get novice climbers, or someone on a casual after-dinner jaunt—usually a teacher with a fewstudents, sometimes a bickering couple who never get off the ground. 


Last night I heard the coyotes. It was 2 a.m., and at first, I thought the yip yip yips were geese flying overhead. They howled for a few minutes and went quiet for an hour, returning twice, louder and closer each time. I finally got up and opened the trailer door. The air felt like a weighted blanket—thick and protective. The stars were so bold and bright that they didn’t look natural, and I was sorry to leave them outside by themselves. 


On our first evening, Rob came by to check out the climbing route, just as we were just starting our campfire cocktails. He stayed for two hours, never sat down, and never stopped talking. I learned about his ex-wife (“she loved camping until she had babies, then all of a sudden she wasn’t outdoorsy anymore”), their two sons, his career that tanked during the pandemic, volunteer hiking trips with at-risk kids, and his own dumb hiking mistakes (his words). He left at 5:00 the next morning, so he could take his sons to school by 8:00. If he had stayed another night, I would have offered him a beer.


Bent, broken, or resilient?


Our campground host, Nora, is making her rounds. Most hosts cruise in a golf cart to check the sites each morning and sell firewood each evening. Nora walks, carrying a trash pickup stick and bucket, visiting every site at least twice a day. Nora has rules and enthusiastically enforces them. We receive a gentle reprimand for a yoga mat too close to a tree, but I overhear her demand that the very fat, very old dachshund who can’t waddle out of his own way, be leashed, and for the late-night arrivals to move their tent away from the rocks. I know the name of her daughter’s ex-husband (Ryan), how Nora went to Arizona last week to take a friend to rehab (“second time, and woo boy, did he fall off the wagon”), and why she left Ft. Collins for Denver (“too much beer, I like wine”). Nora is a lot.


Though I can’t quite identify how or why desert people are different from mountain or ocean people, I wonder if those who love this land have learned to live with the hard, thorny, and unpredictable spaces around and within ourselves. If we’ve found a way to find beauty in cracks and crevices and different shades of dirt.


I feel the ground in the desert. My own brokenness. My own resilience. I find the shadow of the weeds that aren’t yet wildflowers, the leftover bud on the trail, and rocks with no water to make them shine. My own redemption still to come. 


Deconstructing Wilderness and Other Tales

Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park,
Redwood National Park, Orick, CA

Last night I dreamt I was sharing the concept of camping, this specific version of small rig/big tent/state park camping, with visiting aliens. Maybe it was a post-apocalyptic lecture in the college class I keep forgetting to attend. Either way, it was challenging to communicate that long ago, individual living units would be scooped out of the wilderness, or what was wilderness before the scooping and paving, tree removing, bathroom building, amphitheater constructing, kiosk stationing, and trash and recycle center establishing. Each campground would have fifty (more or less) wilderness units, or campsites as we called them, for folks who bring portable versions of their homes, either a tent with sleeping bags, a green Coleman stove, and collapsible chairs, or little vans and trailers with little beds and sinks and littler bathrooms. They’d stay for a few days and nature up before returning to cities and suburbs, with bigger beds, smaller trees, and not nearly as much dirt or as many stars in the sky.


Our campsite this week backs to a sweet creek and layers of trees that have whipped themselves into a frenzy. Each morning I watch as they wait for their turn in the sun, fawning all over themselves before the light moves on to the next set. I feel it’s my duty to sit with my coffee for the entire performance.


Yesterday we walked though five redwood groves, maybe more, each with vertigo-inducing trees covered in vines, ferns, moss, mushrooms, and other trees, with sun and shade and air full of persistence and patience. Burly bottoms, pulled up from the ground, nurturing a family of ferns. Four corkscrewed trunks, a wall of branches dripping with moss, hovering over trails. A creek, a tiny bridge, a bird. Burn marks, braided bark, spider webs. Light, dark, green, blue, brown, damp, dusty. 


We drove to where the Klamath River meets the sea and watched pelicans dive and kids with dogs scamper. We ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, which were especially tasty for a Tuesday afternoon. We read, wrote, and drew a little. We came upon ceremonial grounds for the Yurok Tribe, though we didn’t know the specifics, just that we could feel something else here, and it wasn’t ours.


We stopped in the National Park Visitor’s Center to ask about the ceremonial grounds, and only one ranger seemed to know. We had a lively discussion with him about the communities here—tribal, trees, elk, and the sad, empty town nearby that never thrived as the Gateway to the Redwoods. We exchanged book recommendations, privileged indignation, and hope for the future. As we were leaving, he said, “Remember, wilderness is a social construct.”


I can’t stop thinking about his comment, piling wilderness on top of our other social constructs: gender, marriage, race, education, family, wealth, beauty, happiness. A while ago, I bought a book of Native American folktales and was disappointed it didn’t include maps. Our daughter, Alex, reminded me that borders are a social construct and perhaps not meaningful to people whose land was stolen from them.


Back at the campground, ten-year-old Haddy stopped by with her cousin and brother, offering to show us three bike tricks for a quarter. She swivels 360 degrees on her bike seat, swinging her legs for a theatrical flourish. The boys stand on their seats, and all three pull impressive wheelies for an encore. Haddy shows me the special rock in her fanny pack, and whispers that she tells little kids it’s her pet turtle, Rocky. She only charges them a dime for petting privileges, because they’re just children, you know.


This morning, I ponder our read-aloud book, Braiding Sweetgrass,** and yesterday’s conversation about the intentionality of the Yurok—how they honor the land with respect and gratitude. Today, instead of asking the trees to fill me up, I thank them. 


Thank you trees, for hosting moss and birds and bugs and each other and for hosting all of us. Thank you for helping me see through the layers. Thank you for helping me breathe and belong. Thank you for still standing, for still growing, despite all we’ve taken from you. Thank you for your shade and needles and cones and sap and wood and roots that go further than we can imagine. Thank you for being here first.


By our fifth evening, Haddy’s gang has grown to seven kids, and we hear them traipsing up the creek, laughing and poking and tossing rocks back into the water, competing for the biggest splash. She’s learned how to stand on her bike seat, too, and rides by to demonstrate for free, since I already paid for the show.


We linger over our final evening campfire, carefully tending the last pieces of wood. Our neighbors are a group of thirty-something friends, loud but entertaining, especially the guy in the kilt, with half his head shaved and the other half in a braid. At dusk, we hear a guitar and beautiful, strong, confident, joyful singing. They know all the words to all the songs—sea shanties, folk songs, contemporary pop, and musical theater. I cry, just a little, as they whistle and harmonize their way through the Lumineers’ Home is Wherever I’m with You.


We stay past the last strum, until the quarter moon moves out of sight. 

protection plan.jpg

The Protection Plan

Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park 

Santa Cruz Mountains

This park promises redwoods, but they’re down the road, and we’re camping in a magnificent forest layered with oak, madrone, sycamore and pine, hovering over a carpet of red poison oak. Here it’s easy to believe trees talk to each other, as they twist and turn to support a bough that might require an assist. 


The trunks gather in groups of four or seven, going out of their way to reach over the road, weaving in and out until they’re a tangled puzzle of twigs and leaves and sunlight. The pattern is confusing, but maybe the pattern is simply reaching out, leaning in and wrapping around. I wonder if they say, “Here, take my branch, I can grow another,” or if they hold each other up without a word. Is it duty or delight to lend a branch to a tree who has lost a favorite limb?


My metaphor-loving brain lists everything I’m trying to nurture and protect—my time, my marriage, my daughters, my mother, my friendships, my writing practice, democracy, women’s rights, the vulnerable and oppressed, my garden, my neighborhood, my books, my financial investments, my modicum of talent, my values, my muscles, my memory, my heart. 


And then there is the planet, she who protects all of us.


No wonder there are so many trees. 


That’s why I come here. To sit with my morning coffee, under the trees, looking up and out, waiting for a new point of view to find me. If I am still, the tallest tree will speak to me. 


“It takes a forest” she whispers.


Land of Wishful Thinking

California Desert

It’s beautiful, this desert, where ideas rise from the sand.


Today we’ve driven past blooming ocotillo with bird-like flowers perched on the bare branch tips. Past the 350-foot rusted sea serpent, too-tired-to-try-anymore motels and RV parks, date farms, dirt bikes and dune buggies. Out to explore renegade art at the edge of Salton Sea, we first stop at Salvation Mountain and Slab City, though we missed East Jesus and the Lizard Tree Anarchist Library. We admired a surprisingly beautiful fence crafted out of bed springs and paused at a dead tree with twelve paint cans hanging from the branches, a reminder that the desert is a crossing to somewhere else, and not a safe one.


On cue, he’s says, “This is the land of wishful thinking.” Inbound, it’s all anticipation and aspiration. Outbound is a story of unfortunate choices and questionable timing.


Bombay Beach was a popular-then-abandoned resort, poisoned by the salinity of the Salton Sea and runoff from Imperial Valley farms. It’s having a second go as a bohemian artist’s colony, though it’s still reviving and not yet thriving. Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby have been replaced by an impressive collection of graffiti, art installations and decomposing structures on the beach. It’s not easy to discern trash from treasure, but the colors are bold and bright, which might be the point.


The first person we see is a shirtless runner, wearing sequined kitty cat ears. He looks like an average suburban runner, especially if you ignore the striped tail following him.


We drive around the edges of town and to the beach, finding a ghost ship, swings in the water, a doorway to nowhere, and a sign that claims, “the only other thing is nothing.” We park at Bombay Beach Estates, a crumbling compound of decay and poetry and broken glass, with pigeons nesting in the corners. It’s brilliant and confusing and a little gross. Step carefully, he warns me. But look at this, over here. And this. And this.


We stop at an orange building in the shape of an M, The Museum of Unwanted Architecture. We hear a sound check, “testing, one, two, three” and a drum solo that sounds promising. On the corner, a slab is painted with the message, “rent me and live here for $250 a month.”  It faces the lake which is toxic and smelly and full of dead fish, with sculptures that might last a season or two.


“That’s a bargain,” whispers my inside voice, as I ponder what my contribution might be. I could paint stories on my imaginary motorhome and build totems out of coffee cups and baby doll heads, but not the creepy ones. I’d drive a golf cart covered with miniature plastic toys. Obviously, I’d wear caftans and bracelets up to my elbows, and change my name to Annabella, but you can call me Bella. My garden would be a gathering place for writers and readers, broken pottery, and anyone who needs a little kindness. Lemon bars and iced tea will be served every afternoon at three.


I don’t mention this, not yet. Maybe he’s scheming too, and we can be neighbors in side-by-side RVs painted in complimentary colors. I suspect his yard will have bicycle wheel whirligigs, a putting green, and weekly life drawing classes, but that’s just a guess.


We spy a dinosaur painting hanging on a cyclone fence, promising free hugs. A house with five crystal chandeliers hanging from streetlights. An airplane that looks like a fish. The Bombay Beach Drive-In, full of cars without wheels. A wall of televisions and computers, with pink paint that dried dripping and a Venmo number, just in case. A young man is carefully painting a house without walls. I want to ask if he’s going to live in this house of rainbow colors, and if his new home will have walls or be all porch, which would save the cost of windows but still get plenty of light. On the way out of town, we stop at the billboard with a vintage photo of four laughing women on water skis. The Last Stop for the Bombay Beach Resort has been altered so only the words, The Last Resort, are highlighted in yellow.


As we drive away, Mr. Kitty Cat is returning from his run.


Later, I search property prices in Bombay Beach and realize I don’t have the resources or constitution to be a renegade artist at a toxic beach in the middle of the desert. My comfort zone includes moderate temps and as little poison in my water as possible. The only idea worth pursuing is a closet full of caftans and an armful of bracelets. Maybe the lemon bars. And the community of readers and writers. I’ll skip the baby head totems, because no matter what I imagine, they will always be creepy.


Chicken Lips

Sugar Pine Point State Park

Lake Tahoe, CA

The sky is sunrise purple, the air so crisp it hurts. They came here often, in summer and fall, a few times in spring, and once in winter. She walks to the end of the pier and sits in her tangle of blanket and memory. Her metronome heart makes good company. 


Tick tock.


It’s time. 


“I love you. Damn you.” She tosses him into the water. Five pounds of ash and only a little flies back in her face. 


She licks her lips. “Mmmm, tastes like chicken,” she says out loud, because she knows he would have said it first.

bottom of page