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  • "Carry me, Daddy."

    "My back hurts."

    "I'll rub it." My son looks up at me, pleading. He is three.

    "You're heavy. Let's walk a little bit more."

    The Sandy River Delta is a flood plain of the Columbia river. At the moment it's a shallow shelf of aging grass and leafless trees. Fog whirls above. I can feel a great sucking of air from the gorge, emptying into the Willamette river valley and continuing on for a hundred miles to the sea.

    We walk, gravel crunching. In the distance our dog sniffs at a mole mound.

    "Carry me."

    "Tired of walking?"

    "Yes." He sighs.

    "Did you feel that?"

    My son looks up. Heavy laden raindrops splat on his face. He squints. Then sticks out his tongue.

    Our dog trots up, anxious. She hates rain. It rains 9 months out of the year. She is always complaining.

    "Okay, I'll give you a boost. Let's head back."

    My son smiles, arms outstretched. I swing him up on my shoulders.
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