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  • “So, what should we do there, girl?” he asks.

    That’s Paul, the guy with the fiddle.

    "Whatever you want."

    That’s me. In the recording, I’m playing guitar. In the photo, I’m the one looking at him. Devoted.

    He picks a tune, Hollow Poplar, and launches in. Paul's playing is like a leaf, floating gently on a breeze, my friend Bobby always says.

    I spent so much time, watching Paul play—he had these long fingers that held the bow so lightly, fingers that seemed to slide up and down the neck of the fiddle. He taught me tunes, and I would watch his hands, to try to gather all the details.

    When he died, the saddest part of his wake was to see his hands folded across his chest. Still. I had never seen them like that, before.

    Paul wasn’t my grandfather, but in the three or four years I knew him, it felt like he was. I remember, one night, at a music festival, as we said our goodbyes, he said—

    I love you.

    And I skipped down the hill, feeling like my heart would burst.

    This music was recorded exactly one year ago. One year ago, I was sitting at his feet, trying to soak up every note he played, every wink he gave when you were getting it right. Sitting at his feet, I was exactly where I was supposed to be. Me, sitting at his feet, to learn what I could, me backing him up listening to him shine.

    He died in August. After a magnificent summer playing music. One last spark, until the end.

    One year later, I still feel a bit lost. Wondering, where I should sit.
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