The gravel shifted and crunched under the Vespa’s wheels as Surtch Pherther coasted to a stop in the turnout for Lutrec Marsh. He switched off the ignition, slid from the seat, and raised the scooter onto its stand. Nearby were picnic tables in a small pavilion. He walked over and plunked his full daypack onto the one closest to the grass, the reeds, the water.
From the pack, he retrieved a spoon and an applesauce cup, some mixed berry breakfast bars, and the small thermos he’d filled with hot coffee that morning. From the clear blue, just above the skyline of the Mackenzie River Range, the morning sun shined: Everything touched by its light began to warm from the night. And from the marsh came the murmur of myriad small creatures–insects, critters, and birds, birds, birds. Though the day was still young for man, marsh life had been up for hours.
He’d departed the City of Contradictions well before dawn and had quietly ridden through dark DeLusiville, sleepy Fenview, and awaking Hampton Ford. He would soon fuel up in nearby Agton, pass through its long canyon, and then gather final groceries in Tillage. That afternoon he would wander the beach of large Lake Mackenzie, that evening savor a campfire with some of his family, and that night doze tented from a raging thunderstorm. The next day, with Monks Valley and South Morgan Canyon and Nomads Draw still before him, he would slow-dance with dusk in the evening chill across Waveridge Pass.
Yet this moment–a warming morning amid marsh-life murmur–would be the one to keep, the one to shelve within reach, the one to save for when life would again be cold, for when the metropolis would again get noisy, for when folks would again be cruel.
Two guys with a rowboat rolled in off the pavement as Surtch was finishing breakfast. It was time for him to leave.