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  • A July Saturday.
    We drive out a dirt road that connects to another dirt road that connects to something maybe more appropriately called a dust road. The cloud kicked up by our tires is so thick, we're temporarily blinded, shrouded in the brown of this too-dry-summer. I use the windshield wipers against this anti-wet, futilely. When we stop and the dust settles, we're in a field of cabbages, as if the cloud had transported us to an alternate world, inhabited only by vegetables.

    We're here for a party, the kind of New England thing that materializes out of a clearing in the woods with the sudden addition of people and six-packs of beer. But we're early. And so we take our first beers exploring, following paths that we don't know the end of. The one we choose winds through the forest, and then, suddenly, opens out onto a field of thigh-high grass and, in its center, an old tobacco barn. After living in this area for a few years, I know the look of these from far off. You can spot the length of them on the horizon. Up close, you see the gaps on the sides where slats of wood can easily be removed to aerate the tobacco leaves, when they're hung inside to dry. But this barn, nearing the summer's peak, is empty.

    Inside, the floor is soft sand, the air thick with the day's heat. The coming sunset has turned this barn into a grid of light and dark. We are mesmerized by it, wandering up and down to see how the lines fall on us, how the sun is transformed in having to traverse these spaces into a gift, a punctuation of gold in the dark.

    It is ordinary marvels like these that promise me I have no idea what the end of a dirt road will hold.
    And so I should try more of them.
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