Apr. 22nd, 2012

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 Thunder resounded across the summer sky, a far off reminder of the storm that had meandered its way across the mountain on its way to the sea.  Grey clouds still flecked the area, mitigating the sunlight that would soon be beating down upon the landscape.  Birds darted from nest to nest, the air filled with a raucous cacophony of crow caws, sparrow twitters, and even the single mournful screech of a lone hawk, though the thrumming of cicadas was nearly enough to drown out the entire avian symphony.

Far below stood a small, rustic cabin crafted entirely out of aged wood.  The brown wood-grain was interspersed with grey streaks, signs of age. The windows sparkled in the post-storm light, the only part of the structure that was in relatively good repair.  A low roof hung over the porch, a pair of rocking chairs creaking in the late afternoon sun.  A lone figure lounged in one of the chairs, feet propped on a gnarled log with legs carved out of nobs in the wood.  A dainty hand was clasped around a steaming mug of hot coffee, the owner’s olive skin glistening with sweat.  Clothed in a faded green sundress, Saori Kimura took a long sip, drinking in the grainy aroma of her drink.  Saori’s other hand held open a rather thick looking book entitled Legends of the American Southeast, which she seemed to be reading half-heartedly.

A small black cell-phone rested on a table nearby, a gift from one of her foreign friends.  Saori had never used the phone, but when she had arranged this trip into the Appalachians the travel agent had insisted that she at least keep some sort of communication device on her.  Such things were usually beneath her, but then again, so were vacations.  This had started as a means to unwind, but had become quite an enlightening trip.  In all her long years, she’d never once travelled to America, or anywhere in what the Europeans called the New World, instead preferring to stay within the confines of Eurasia.  When she’d told Adele of her desire to see the United States, the other woman had been most surprised, almost seeming concerned.  Ultimately, her friend had given her a reliable travel agent, a few books on American culture, and directed her to certain sites.

Upon discovery of Appalachia, Saori had become enchanted by the region.  New York, Los Angeles, and the other big cities that were tourist must-see’s all paled in comparison.  It was like no other place she’d visited before, with the low-hanging mist that permeated the landscape, the humidity, and the periods of rainfall.  She’d cancelled the rest of her plans and decided to merely rent this cabin and read in contemplative silence.  She’d blasted through a dozen books in a matter of days, as a storm blasted through the area, affording her all the time in the world...while drenching the rural backwoods.

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木村沙織

August 2015

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