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playing catch

so there we stood alongside the trail, our toes inched up to the edge of the mountainside, right up to the line where the earth gives way to sky.

from a distance we could hear our friends’ voices, just one more, that looked good, can you hit it higher, as they tried to capture that perfect slice in time, that one-two thousandth of a second of energy in motion.

and we stood and we watched. and as we watched the sun drifted inexorably downward. and we began to toss words back and forth in a game of catch, telling the story we were living the way writers inevitably do. it’s as if it isn’t real until we assign words to it, as if we aren’t really alive unless we write it down.

and then it became a game of one-upmanship, adjectives piling on adjectives, a tall tale fueled by the beer we passed between us. the sun became a flaming orb, setting fire to the sky, the seas shone a clear crystalline blue and washed ashore on vanilla white sands, the ground up bones of millions of crustaceans, their lives long over. and we laughed like idiots at our creation, geniuses in our own minds. the sky turned red.

soon our friends came up to meet us, their search for perfection suspended by the light’s fading. and we stood there together transfixed under the darkening sky. we watched the shadows sink deeper into the mountain’s lineaments and the sea follow the sky into darkness.

and we stood, the four of us bound together by ritual, by the magic moment of the day’s end and the alluring dream of tomorrow’s new beginning.

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