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datatime: 2022-11-29 18:59:40 Author:yzxAbqXn

"The flight to Portland leaving in twenty minutes," Jim said. "Is it full up?" The clerk checked the computer. "You're in luck, sir. We have three open seats."

"Smell the air!" Louise took a deep button-popping breath. "You can sure tell we're on the edge of five thousand acres of parkland, huh? So little in of humanity in the air."

"The flight to Portland leaving in twenty minutes," Jim said. "Is it full up?" The clerk checked the computer. "You're in luck, sir. We have three open seats."

"Smell the air!" Louise took a deep button-popping breath. "You can sure tell we're on the edge of five thousand acres of parkland, huh? So little in of humanity in the air."

Nevertheless Holly intended to write an uncritical piece. Over the years she had known far too many reporters who, because of envy or bitterness or a misguided sense of moral superiority, got a kick out of slanting and coloring a story to make their subjects look foolish.

"The flight to Portland leaving in twenty minutes," Jim said. "Is it full up?" The clerk checked the computer. "You're in luck, sir. We have three open seats."

Again he told himself to flow with it, which was easy since he had no choice.

The clerk who served him was a clean-cut young man, as straight-arrow as a Disneyland employee-at first glance.

"The flight to Portland leaving in twenty minutes," Jim said. "Is it full up?" The clerk checked the computer. "You're in luck, sir. We have three open seats."

The drive to John Wayne Airport, on the southeastern edge of Santa Anta, took less than half an hour. Along the way he saw subtle reminders at southern California had been a desert before the importation of water through aqueducts. A billboard urged water conservation. Gardeners were planting low-maintenance cactus and ice plant in front of a new southwestern-style apartment building. between the greenbelts and the neighborhoods of lushly landscaped properties, the vegetation on undeveloped fields and hills was parched and brown, waiting for the kiss of a match in the trembling hand of one of the pyromaniacs contributing to the annual, devastating wildfire season.

He closed the suitcase and stared at it, not sure what to do next.

He read the destinations from top to bottom on the monitor. The next to t city-Portland, Oregon-struck a spark of inspiration in him, and he went straight to the ticket counter.

He didn't know he was going to pack for travel until he found himself taking a suitcase from his closet. He gathered up his shaving gear and toiletries first. He didn't know his destination or how long he would be gone, but he included two changes of clothes. These jobs-adventures missions, whatever in God's name they were-usually didn't require him to be away more than two or three days. He hesitated, worried that he had not packed enough. But these trips were dangerous; each could be his last, in which case it didn't matter whether he packed too much or too little.

He didn't know he was going to pack for travel until he found himself taking a suitcase from his closet. He gathered up his shaving gear and toiletries first. He didn't know his destination or how long he would be gone, but he included two changes of clothes. These jobs-adventures missions, whatever in God's name they were-usually didn't require him to be away more than two or three days. He hesitated, worried that he had not packed enough. But these trips were dangerous; each could be his last, in which case it didn't matter whether he packed too much or too little.

"Only in the wilderness am I alive, far from the sights and sounds of civilization, where I can hear the voices of nature in the trees, in the brush, in the lonely ponds, in the dirt."

Again he told himself to flow with it, which was easy since he had no choice.

Holly Thorne was at a private elementary school on the west side of Portland to interview a teacher, Louise Tarvohl, who had sold a book of poetry to a major New York publisher, not an easy feat in an age when most people's knowledge of poetry was limited to the lyrics of pop songs and occasional rhyming television ads for dog food, underarm deodorant, or steel-belted radial tires. Only a few summer classes were under way.

"The flight to Portland leaving in twenty minutes," Jim said. "Is it full up?" The clerk checked the computer. "You're in luck, sir. We have three open seats."

"Only in the wilderness am I alive, far from the sights and sounds of civilization, where I can hear the voices of nature in the trees, in the brush, in the lonely ponds, in the dirt."

He closed the suitcase and stared at it, not sure what to do next.

Voices in the dirt? Holly thought, and almost laughed.

Voices in the dirt? Holly thought, and almost laughed.

Holly had been given an advance copy of the book, Soughing Cypress and Other Poems, when Tom Corvey, the editor of the Press's entertainment section, assigned her to the story. She had wanted to like it. She enjoyed seeing people succeed-perhaps because she had not achieved much in her own career as a journalist and needed to be reminded now and then that success was attainable. Unfortunately the poems were jejune, dismally sentimental celebrations of the natural world that read like something written by a Robert Frost manque, then filtered through the sensibilities of a Hallmark editor in charge of developing saccarine cards for Grandma's birthday.

Nevertheless Holly intended to write an uncritical piece. Over the years she had known far too many reporters who, because of envy or bitterness or a misguided sense of moral superiority, got a kick out of slanting and coloring a story to make their subjects look foolish.

In the main terminal at the airport, travelers streamed to and from their boarding gates. The multi-racial crowd belied the lingering myth that Orange County was culturally bland and populated solely by white AngloSaxon Protestants. On his way to the bank of TV monitors that displayed a list of arriving and departing flights, Jim heard four languages besides English.

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