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After the pomp, the authority vested, the hoods and gowns solemnly waddling, after lemonade on the lawn, chatter, pecking, the graduates flee like a flock of birds, great blackbirds surprised while feeding, scattering plumage, scattering from each other. And then there is a summer silence. Rabbits feed on it boldly, with insouciance. No number of lawnmowers fills the void. Of course it will all start again; again the nest will fill, the noise renew, the transience. But those fledged and gone are gone - as it should be. And sometimes in some far year one hears familiar music from a distant tree, with new notes added. We settle for that.

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