I ran past the yellow-brown grass turning green. Up streets made of asphalt and down sidewalks made of concrete. Past garbage containers filled to the reeking brim.

Rows of houses blocked my view of the setting sun. Even the fresh air that I craved smelled of chemicals when I rounded a bend.

Sometimes, after visiting a more natural environment, I compare everywhere to it. I look around my subdivision–where are the woods? Where are the boulders? The vistas of sweeping hills?

At that moment, a duck shot overhead from behind a row of houses. I couldn’t tell what kind it was from its silhouette against the orange-blue sky. It flapped furiously, as if it had just taken off from someone’s backyard. Its wings were in rapid motion above the static landscape. Everything else was frozen: the grass, the houses looking wide-eyed into the last rays of the sun. Even I seemed to be running in place.

Then the duck was gone. In its wake, I realized that I was hearing birdsong.


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