May 22, 2001

One fine summer day, a boy noticed something up ahead. His sack on his back, and a pen light dangling from his key-chain, he peered into the desert haze. Through the waves of heat he recognised a dark, upright figure. Though his tread had for three days lapsed into an uperturbable rhythm, it quickened at the sight, and his soles rolled off the asphalt with more haste. The sun beat on his skin, which was now permanently sheened with perspiration. At first he could not tell if he was approaching. He recognised by degrees what was happening. The waves of haze, and his fixed squint, turned perception gradual. He felt as he were waking from a dream. But, by degrees, the figure revealed human characteristics. It had legs, a slim trunk, a narrowing top. It bore a slight head, it swayed a little. By degrees, the boy made out that the figure was moving, but whether towards him or away, he could not tell. He saw that its legs were making strides--slow, not rapid, but easy, swaying steps. He judged a shrub by the road, and measured when the figure neared; by this he hoped to learn its way. But the haze did make seeming normal calculations hard. Or fluid rather. So that no concrete evidence he could gain. By degrees, he saw that he was approaching. The heat like moving glass aligned and realigned the landscape, thus, once a mountain

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