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In the country

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''Sorry there isn't very much to do around here, honey,'' my mother says as she clears a few dishes off the dinner table. ''Yes, I suppose you've almost forgotten what it's like to live in the country after so long in Los Angeles,'' my father says.

''Not having much to do sounds great to me,'' I say as I get up from the table on a visit to my home town, a little farming center in Oregon. ''Think I'll take a little walk and combine exercise with fresh air and seeing what there is to see.''

''Afraid that there isn't much to see,'' Mom says as she walks out to the kitchen.

I start down the asphalt road that led to the freight depot, potato cellars, and grain silos.

The westering sun is low, glinting into my eyes and giving a kind of indigo tinge to the east. The sky that had been brilliantly blue, with nary a cloud on this warm August day.

I walk by some little white clapboard houses facing the road, noticing their gardens with their tall corn, lush jungles

of zucchini and pumpkin, watched over by towering sunflowers. Their huge, heavy round heads are turned west in farewell to the sun.

Walking by the depot, I cross the tracks and walk along a dirt road, still facing the sun, which is now sending slanting shadows tinged with pink across the flat land.

I notice a sharp, pungent scent. Someone has pigs nearby. In wafts like this it is not unpleasant as it might be up close. The cleanness of the air seems to accentuate smells as a clear, white background emphasizes a sketch in black pencil.


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