what we’re living for

There is a chapter in Ender’s Game where our protagonist, exhausted from endless, elaborate games of war, is sent back to Earth. As I recall, the young boy talks with his sister Valentine as they sun themselves floating on a raft in the middle of a pond in the lush green woods near their home in North Carolina.

Ever the strategist and tactician, Ender understands why the Battle School brought him back. He needed rest, but he could have relaxed anywhere, including remaining in sterile orbit. They brought him back to Earth to experience these moments, so that he would remember the beauty of what he was fighting for.

Yesterday in the late afternoon I walked around the neighborhood, through Westinghouse and then over to Frick. 

I don’t know why I don’t take long walks in the woods more often. As I left the house, Marissa warned me that it was about to rain. The rumble of distant thunder and the way the wind rustled the leaves on the trees did give me pause at times. But I grew up in this part of the planet, not so far from here, and I could see in the sky and feel on my skin that it would not be raining anytime soon.

Memories of walking among trees are emeralds on a necklace. The oldest jewels are from wandering the woods behind my last childhood home, past Mrs. Nuckols’ house, where I took piano, all the way over to the Marietta Times. There are no real trails, I don’t know if they were made by animals or how. Once when I took him back there off-leash, Mookie took off like a bolt, chasing a deer I never saw. I worried even though those woods extend far, about whether he would find his way back to me. But he did, of course, he always came home.

In truth I never explored those woods often, either. What was I thinking, what was I doing.

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