The treble of a radio floats through the valley, pleasant because it sounds like Tuvan throat-singers across the mountains and seas and mountains, ghosted into my woods by some freak configuration of the ionosphere. The whack whack whack of an axe might be a woodpecker the size of a radio tower, searching the boulderous hills for fat snakes. Sipped tea is a syllable out of the great speech of babbling brooks, formed in rain and mud, carving the land into territories. The roar of water just around the bend becomes a spray and sparkling everywhere, the sound, like leaves in a wind which is moving the mountains.

The mountaintop is lit in stripes by the setting sun: the old bony stone exposed in patches, covered in brown leaves, lichen, and moss, trees gray and yellow, sky blue and darkening, mountains fogged gray and black at the horizon. In my hand is a small book; the cover is soft black leather and the corners of the pages are rounded, large radius. It contains the distillation of sixty years of searching (more a hobby than a pursuit, lately) for the location of the Renyhr's lost temple. I have been to many such candidate locations, and I do not expect to find just under that ridge the stone steps leading down into unvandalized darkness. I am enjoying the coolness of the sky, crisp air, and the waning warmth of the sun.

In the envelopes and letters stacked in stuffy blackness, old wood desks unused for sixty years, in a brick building with broken windows and an oddly bent tree outside, by the sidewalk, in those envelopes and between the folded pages of yellowed papers wait secret places which no longer exist, the world churning over the hidden pond glen, where the grassy bank by the willow was worn to dirt by the children kicking their feet over the quiet surface, the world churning over the rotting farmhouse, a beam or two which gave way, the second story inaccesible due to the gradient and decay, old newspapers, an untuned piano, and a leery cat in the far hallway, the world churning over and over, as the wrecking ball crashes through brick, splintering wooden desks unused in sixty years, and the setting sun streams in through the dust and the floating papers (escaping only in the moment of their doom), and the treble of the crane operator's radio floats into the building, like a monastic cry from a far flung mountain country.