I go down into the ravine in mid-spring for the windless cool. The thistle hasn't taken over then, the grass is still unripe, the nesting blackbirds haven't formed vigilante groups yet, although one or two hang on the rock, baleful eyes and murderous smiles. "Staying long?" they rasp. "Passing through. Passing through," I say. And they nod, disbelieving.
The sun is up, low over my shoulder, just east-northeast. My shadow leaps out along the wet grass, over the lip of the rise and across the deer trail down into the ravine. And when you can see your shadow on June the 18th, long and twisted among the scrub, it means twelve more years of ecosystem collapse.
I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all. I used to teach this verse …