Katherine English's Stories
Gates of the Arctic by Katherine English
Gates of the Arctic
"How did you know?" I murmur beneath your ear. "This week's really taken a toll. How could you tell that I needed to get away for a while?"
You smile. "Don't I always know? I can see it in your eyes...the set of your mouth. How could I ever miss it?"
Gently I nuzzle the hollows of your throat, grateful that you're here, and that you understand me so well. "Should I wait inside while you do that 'preflight thingy'?" I ask, looking around the small bush terminal for an unoccupied seat. "Or should I come out on the tarmac with you? Is there something I can help with?"
You stifle the urge to laugh, knowing that help is the last thing I would be in getting your bright red Stearman airborne...but you know I'm serious, so you resist. "You can keep me company. That always helps...with anything," you whisper into my hair. "Come on out to the tie-down. We'll be out of here in no time."
I laugh the laugh that you so tactfully resisted. I knew what you were thinking...what you're thinking now. It isn't here on the runway in Barrow that you crave my company, or even up there in the blue arctic sky. It's our weekend together that has your juices flowing...and mine. As much as you're looking forward to our flight into the clear, cloudless sky, you're anticipating our weekend alone in the Gates of the Arctic more...a wilderness preserve so rare and unspoiled that much of it has never seen the hand of man. "Why don't you get in?" you offer, guiding my feet as I make my way into the forward cockpit. I feel your hands linger on my derriere as I leave the chill surface of the pavement...warming much more than my body. Again I smile. An unspoken message has passed between us...an understanding...a promise. This weekend is for us alone...all else will be left behind. The only thing to touch us...or be touched by us is...
I blush as the thought of us in the wilderness for two days fills my mind. Two days...two days...a lifetime for a fruit fly...yet a microsecond in the timelessness that will surround us on this trip...but time enough.
Gratefully, I slide into the relative comfort of my leather-clad seat, watching as you check and recheck the countless tiny considerations that must be secured, approved and adjusted before we may make our escape.
Finally, you're through. You flash me a brief nod, then climb up beside me, checking to be sure that I too am secured for the flight. Once again your fingers linger...quivering slightly as they slide beneath my shoulder harness, tugging, testing... caressing my breast in their passing. My nipples harden in anticipation, wishing even now that the flight was over and that we were lying naked together beneath a starry sky in each other's arms...far from the eyes of man.
I stifle a cry as you break contact and climb in behind me...the warmth of your fingers imprinted in my mind...on my yearning form. I feel the rumble of the engine...the slow growl of the craft as it comes to life and begins to make its way down the deserted runway. It fills me...it stirs me...it offers the promise of things to come.
Slowly you taxi into position, turning us into the wind, and preparing to defy the laws of gravity once again. This is not new to you...but every time I see you take to the air I'm amazed at the renewed wonder in your eyes. You were meant to be here...of this I have no doubt. I'm but a visitor...someone with whom you've chosen to share this special world of yours...and the thought means more to me than mere words could ever tell you.
Tugging my goggles into place, I feel the wind stiffen against my leather flight jacket as the craft picks up speed. Faster...faster we race until at last we break free from the earth below, soaring ever skyward like gulls on the wing. We rise weightlessly into the thin, clear air, gaining altitude, leaving the soddies and prefabs of Barrow far behind. I feel the plane shift as you bank sharply to the right, heading for the shoreline, our guide on the first leg of our journey.
Within seconds we're following the Arctic coast eastward...past the lagoon...Browerville...the Point where we've spent so many intimate moments. Below us the ocean caresses the land, lapping gently at timeless shores, the small white "calves" of icebergs-past gently lolling listlessly in the lethargic chill of the blue-gray sea.
A bowhead breaks the surface, spewing water into the frosty air as it makes its way westward toward the Bering Straits and its mating ground far, far away in the tropics beyond. We smile, knowing full well the primal urges that drive this massive beast toward its ultimate destination. My pulse quickens. Am I like that? Are you? Is this bright, red bird a part of our mating ritual as well?
The ice cap...ancient beyond reckoning, lies to the north...its pale contours heralding the edge of no-man's land. But that isn't for us...not today. You tap my arm as the silt-laden delta of the Coville River passes beneath our wings...its intricate by-ways crossing and recrossing in a lazy flow to the sea. You bank once more, and we head southward...following its course past the prefabs of Nuiqsut...the oil rigs of Prudhoe Bay falling away to the east.
We travel onward, the Coville narrowing, picking up speed as we begin to leave the tundra behind and climb the foothills of the Brooks Range. You pull back on the stick, and I feel the plane rise...the earth above...the sky below as you guide the Stearman through a series of loops...a farewell to the flatlands. I howl with delight...laughing as the world rights itself and my pulse strives to regain its rhythm. It's good to be alive...so good.
Slowly we climb, past Anaktuvuk Pass...Umiat...until the final bastions of civilization lie far behind, and we're free at last. The blue-white crags of the Brooks Range flow beneath us...the passing of man serenely absent. Finally and completely, we're alone.
You tap my arm once more and point out a narrow strip of beach...the afterthought of some long melted glacier...abandoned now by the still depths of a deep mountain lake. You point downward, and I feel the Stearman begin to lose altitude, our bird coming home for the night.
Once more you head into the wind as our landing gear gently touches down. Then turning, you taxi back to the far end of this impromptu runway and swing about in preparation for our inevitable departure. But for now...leaving is the last thing on our minds. This place has called us...drawn us to it. We belong here.
Quickly you drop to the ground, and then offer your hand as I make my way from the cockpit into your waiting arms. This is what I've been waiting for...longing for. The flight was wonderful...breathtaking, but it was mere foreplay to what awaits here in your embrace.
You gather me against you...your body hard and rugged against the soft contours of my own. You part my lips with your tongue, probing within...a parody of the act we both want so desperately. But we need to show some restraint, some control. Mere minutes of daylight remain, and we have a camp to set up while we still can.
Briefly we scout the area, and then select a spot beside a granite cliff, within view of the lake beyond. I begin to lay a fire about ten feet from the base, knowing that when the flame is lit, anything in between will remain warm and toasty. I walk along the shore gathering enough driftwood to last the night, and then return to find all of our gear neatly piled by our campsite.
Ever the nest-builder, I begin to spread our ground cloth atop the sand at the base of the abutment, topping it with the double sleeping bag...soft down...that we've chosen for this occasion. The last of the sun dips behind the mountains, leaving us to our own devices. I turn. You've gotten the fire started. Wonderful!
You give me an impish grin and begin to peel the clothing from your body. I smile at your impatience. What am I ever going to do with you? The possibilities are endless...
Quickly I begin to shed my jeans and panties, dropping them unceremoniously in a heap. Then, crossing my arms, I begin to lift the huge Shaker sweater that covers my naked breasts up and over my head...but where have you gone?
I hear you laugh...your voice calling out to me from the darkness beyond. A splash. You must be crazy! That water is close to freezing!
Quickly I grab a spare blanket from our gear, knowing that you'll be chilled to the bone, and gather my sweater once more.
"Jim...where are you?" I call into the night, my breath coming in frosty gasps as I make my way toward the beach.
And then you're there...your arms surrounding me...your hands taking my burdens from me as you lift me in your arms. I feel the throaty rumble of laughter in your chest as you carry me across the beach.
"Jim! You wouldn't..."
(But you would...)
I hear the water swirling around your calves...your thighs...my body...
The water assaults my buttocks, evoking a shattering yelp...but then I'm once again high and dry. Laughing, I jab your shoulder with my fist.
"You! You're a menace...you know that?"
Even in the still darkness of our mountain retreat, I can sense your smile bathing me in its warm and reassuring glow.
"Let's go back," I whisper. "It's warm back there...cozy. I brought you a blanket..."
Briefly, you dip your head and lap at my turgid nipple, then make your way back to the dusky line of the shore. You're chilled, and I wrap you in the blanket I've brought, and then once more don the oversized sweater that will be my own saving grace.
Our fire casts a warm and welcomed glow, and we trace its beacon through the velvet blackness back to our nest. The cliff behind us has warmed in our absence, and now a luminous biodome of warmth encapsulates the area around out bedroll.
Dropping silently, you kneel atop the soft, downy surface of our makeshift bed, the blanket pooling around your legs. Your eyes, so recently filled with mirth, have taken on a different hue...an intensity that was absent until now.
Settling back on your heels, you draw me toward you, my feet assuming an uneasy position on either side of your resting knees.
"Shhhhhh. Don't talk. Don't move," you whisper, your voice holding me in a way no physical bond ever could.
Silently I wait, watching the look in your eyes grow smoky...heavy-lidded. Your hands begin to trace the outside of my thighs, sliding up beneath my sweater... stoking my body in ways unseen until a spark within me begins to glow and kindle. You lift the hem, exposing my wayward curls to the dim flicker of the firelight.
I gasp...the clear air filling my lungs as your tongue begins to invade the moist, delicate center of my passion. My head throbs. I've forgotten to exhale...a common problem when in your presence.
Softly the breath seeps between my lips...companion to the low moan that grows within me. Your hand, once holding me fast, now begins once more to explore the hidden contours of my body...the quivering flesh of my abdomen...the hardened pebbles adorning my breasts.
Again your lips command...imprison, as they continue their tortuous foray into places beyond my control.
I feel your heat...your hands...and my power to obey vanishes like the last of the day. Crossing my arms before me, I lift the hem of my sweater and raise it over my head, baring my body to the heavens above.
Your hand... so bold...so demanding, has now become my prisoner instead. Gently I caress it... fondle it...taste the pocket of your palm with the tip of my tongue. You falter...miss a beat as I tenderly place your index finger between my moistened lips...licking the roughened pad...sucking the salty essence of you into my hungering mouth.
I close my eyes, drawing this pale surrogate ever deeper, feeling you shift...firm and solid between my feet...harboring a tumescence meant for me alone.
Bending my quivering knees, I enclose you between my thighs...our bodies erect...our flesh alive with the flaming gyrations of the fire beyond. I feel your silken shaft pressing against me, hard and persistent, seeking to penetrate my very being. A tug of your hands, a jut of my hips, and we're one with each other...a union as old as time in a place that time forgot.
My breath comes in soft pants as I feel your hardened flesh moving deeply within me...pinning me...possessing me. I feel your hands nudging rhythmically against the rounded orbs of my buttocks, pulling me tighter...
"Go slow..." you whisper as my pulse begins to race. "Go slow...we have all the time in the world."
But something inside of me has left the realm of verbal restraint...left my meager ability to contain it. It's your control alone that keeps me from flying apart...shattering like the crystalline floes of ice that even now creep down the mountainsides in pristine glaciers.
"I...I...c-c-can't," I stammer incoherently, my fingers clutching at the nape of your neck. "I'm trying..." Again I feel your body...so deeply imbedded in my own...so intimately a part of me, and I know that trying won't be enough.
I press my lips to yours...seeking to quell the ragged gasps which shake my body, but I find that you have begun to adopt my rhythm instead. Our tongues meet... intertwine... giving and taking in kind. My nipples, taught and rigid, graze the firmness of your chest and my moans fill the stillness.
I begin to unravel before you...so close...so close. A sense of urgency begins to fill your eyes. Maybe waiting is better left for another time...another moment, you decide. Then, with a consummate skill borne of passions past, you slide your fingers between us and gently massage the delicate hub of my ardor.
I crest...my hold on reason, rationality lost...stifling the primal screams that rise unbidden in my throat. I sink my teeth deeply into my lower lip, clinging to my last dim shred of control.
"Let it go...let it go..." you murmur against my throat as I feel the hot gush of your essence fill me. "It's just us. I want to hear you...let it go..."
Your words curl like a living thing between my thighs, penetrating beyond the boundaries of my tangible being. A cry shatters the stillness...primal...uncivilized...mine? And again...and still once more, eroding finally to a whimper dying in the firelight.
The proof of our passion warms my body, flows in heated rivulets against my thighs as I sink back against the softness of our aerie high in this lofty wilderness. All thought of yesterday...of tomorrow leave as I feel your arms enfold me. Today is all that matters...this moment is all that exists.
Gently you draw the edges of the sleeping bag around us, our bodies touching, sharing their warmth. And as the first stars of night make their way across the sky, we drift off in each other's arms...fulfilled...at one with each other...at peace.
Morning comes...chill and resolute. We're reluctant to leave the warmth of our cocoon...but leave we must. The fire has dwindled down, and only the soft glow of remembered passion still remains in its wake. I feel your lips brush my eyelids...softly teasing me from my reverie.
"Wake up, sleepyhead. Time to rise and shine," you whisper in my dreams...like a mosquito buzzing persistently into my ear.
"Mmmm...let's stay here," I respond petulantly. "You said that we had all the time in the world...remember?" I remind you, feeling your early morning arousal prodding my thigh.
You smile...my gentle coaxing all that you were waiting for. "What did you have in mind?"
I grin...an impish devilment growing in my eyes. "Breakfast," I reply, slowly sliding beneath the edge of the sleeping bag. "After last night...I need nourishment."
Slowly you feel my tongue lave a trail down the length of your body...tickling your flesh...tantalizing the rigid prominence at the juncture of your thighs. Unseen lips enclose you...entice you...fill you with needs more basic than food...warmth...air. Your passion begins to grow...to accelerate. Deep inside a band tightens... drawing you into its spiral, focusing your very being on one tiny spot in the great universe. Your eyelids close...all the sensation you need is beyond the range of your vision now.
Tension builds...the band snaps. You feel the flood of your humanity flow between the warmth of my questing lips. Your body begins to shake uncontrollably; soft, guttural moans emanating from your throat.
Lost in the nest of your thighs I smile, sated in the knowledge that I've given you pleasure. A sharing of passion...a gentle gift. Today is ours...a safe haven from the world beyond. We have all the time in the world.
Finally rising into the chill air, you toss another log onto the fire as I crack a few eggs into a pan and set the coffee to heat. This place we've chosen...it's a good one. The heavily forested mountains on either side form an effective windbreak from the cold arctic breeze...a Shangri-La unspoiled and untrodden...lost in the vast reaches of the wilderness. No sounds of mankind here...no motor-driven annoyances...just the sigh of the mountains watching enviously as we play with each other, lightheartedly skipping stones across the surface of the lake.
Gathering wood for later this evening, we decide to hike up to the treeline, far above, and experience the fullness of our adventure in its pristine perfection. A stream, gushing between the saddle of two peaks has formed a moderate access...one not too backbreaking...a welcomed sight.
Stuffing our daypacks with the needs of out diminutive journey, we set out...climbing steadily...following the watercourse as it winds its way between the rocks and trees of the hillside. The air, crisp and clean, begins to thin and we find the need to rest more frequently as we near the top.
Finally, after hours of what had once seemed like an easy ascension, we break free of the trees and find ourselves scant feet from the very pinnacle. You start to climb...your height and strength easily outdistancing my own, but then you stop. The look in your eyes says volumes as you reach down and clasp my hand in yours. A brief tug, and I find myself abreast of your lofty position. A nudge...and I raise to the very peak itself...a gift from you.
Seconds pass, and I feel you beside me once more, your arms holding me, your touch keeping me from spiraling dizzily into the green depths below. There is no sign of man here...not here...no cigarette butts, no Coke cans...nothing to defile the untouched splendor that surrounds us. Alpha and Omega...the beginning and the end...an eternity will pass before another foot touches this place. An endless string of humanity will come and go, and still this spot will be ours alone.
We spend the afternoon marveling at the glory before us. Dall sheep, eagles and grizzlies form a moving panorama before our eyes. Caribou wander in to drink not far from the strange red bird that nests beside the calm waters below. Then, as the evening threatens to swallow the tentative footholds that allowed us access, we make our way down the mountainside to our camp by the lake.
Our "home" is as we left it...untouched and awaiting our arrival. Quietly I stir the coals, adding more wood, coaxing the flames alive once more. Then, setting a huge coffeepot of water on to warm, I begin wrapping potatoes in aluminum foil to bake in the embers for supper.
I hold up a slab of side bacon for your inspection. "Are we eating this tonight, or are you going to try your hand with a rod and reel?" I ask, knowing full well that your rod has been carefully packed in the storage compartment for days.
I smile as you gather your gear and head down through the growing twilight toward the shore. I have a few moments alone...some privacy. I'll need that in a little while.
Bending to my task, I begin to prepare the bannock bread for tonight's meal. It's my own recipe, heavy-laden with currents, dried apple, slivered almonds and cinnamon. With expert ease I mix the ingredients, then fold in an additional measure of wild blueberries that I've gathered from the hillside. I form the dough into small patties, dropping them into the sizzling skillet for a few minutes to brown on one side. Then, flipping them over, I set the pan on an angle to allow the bread to bake slowly in the reflected heat of the flames while I take advantage of my solitary status.
Shuffling through my gear in the growing darkness, I return with a metal washbasin, my raspberry bath gel, and my favorite sea sponge. I set the basin at my feet near the fire, and pour a full amount of steaming water from the coffee pot into its waiting emptiness. Self-consciously, almost shyly I glance in the direction of the lake. Can you see me...out there in the darkness...can you? No, I decide...your mind is on other things at the moment. I have time...time to make myself fresh and appealing for our evening together.
Down on the beach, a six-pound Dolly Varden in hand, you turn as though bidden by some mute invitation. Have I summoned you...do I want you? Your eyes scan the darkness, coming to rest on my solitary form standing naked in the firelight. You smile...invitation answered... and begin to return toward camp.
It's only then that you realize what has caused me to shed my garments in the flickering light of the campfire. A gentleman would avert his eyes you feel...allow the assumed moment of privacy to continue undeterred.
Respiration quickening, you turn back toward the beach... then pause. That one brief glimpse of innocent simplicity has captured you...mesmerized you...robbed you of your ability to separate yourself from that which is to come. And so you turn once more, your eyes piercing the darkness...your unseen gaze caressing my flesh through the veil of night.
Mutely you stand...transfixed as I spread my legs above the pan, bending low to charge my sponge with the steaming fluid. You watch as I gently squeeze its porous heart over first one shoulder and then the other, the water sluicing down my body...over my breasts, my soft belly...my supple thighs.
I bend again, this time to retrieve a small tube of pinkish gel from the sand near my feet. From this I express a small pool into my hand, rubbing my palms together until a light lather begins to form. You watch...eyes heavy-lidded, as I begin to stroke my body...first one breast, and then the other until tiny flecks of foam adorn each hardened nipple and my body stands slick and glistening before you.
Again you attempt to turn, to restore my privacy...but it's beyond you. Your trout, a prize mere moments before, now goes unnoticed as your body responds to the intimacy which unfolds before you.
Once more you watch as I charge my palms with the aromatic gel, working it until the lather oozes unbidden between my fingers. This time I lift my left foot, bracing it on a piece of driftwood, and began to stroke the length of my leg. Slowly I work my way upward...upward...until I reach the juncture of my thighs, and then I pause.
I glance once more toward the lake, as though assessing your proximity, but you remain hidden behind your cloak of darkness.
Satisfied that my privacy remains intact, I close my eyes and softly slip my soap-slicked finger between my thighs...between my blushing curls...unerringly seeking and finding the hard nub of my desire. Is it my hand that I see stroking seductively in my mind's eye, or yours?
Trembling, your hand begins to mimic the motion of my own as I suck my lower lip between my teeth...my guilty pleasure mounting with each stroke.
Suddenly I gasp...my palm flattening...denying myself the release that I reserve for your touch alone. My breasts heave with unrequited desire as again I dip my sponge and rinse the heated lather from my body.
I draw an uneven breath, shivering as I towel dry and pop my sweater once more over my head, feeling its soft folds drop downward to tease the tops of my thighs as I take my place by the fire and await the return of my conquering hunter.
I haven't long to wait, it seems, for I've barely begun to settle down when I feel you beside me, a massive trout hanging from your fingers...supper and then some. I smile at your triumph. We'll eat well tonight...and the fish will be good too.
Prepared in advance, I butter a length of foil and pop your prize in the very center. Then, stuffing it with onion slices, I add salt and pepper, seal it, and lean forward toward the fire to place it among the ashes, allowing it to poach in its own juices for a while.
My motion was not meant to entice...to enflame...but the stretch of my arms causes my hemline to rise. The rounded globes of my bottom become exposed as I kneel on hands and knees before the flickering firelight, placing the heavy package deep among the glowing coals. The heat, so radiant upon my skin, becomes unbearable, and I spread my knees wide as I back away...further and further from the scorching flames...until I come in contact with an immovable object that was not there scant moments before.
"Sarah," you whisper, your now naked flanks warm against my bared flesh..."I watched you...I saw..."
The warmth I feel drifting upward now has nothing to do with the fire before me...but rather the fire within. A rosy glow encapsulates my body...a flush as I remember what took place in your absence.
"Jim..." I rasp, my voice hoarse with the passion I feel rising from the very center of my being. "Jim...?"
"Shhhh...Let me help," you sooth, your voice gentle like the soft caress that now strokes the backs of my thighs...my buttocks. "Let me..."
I feel your left arm encircle my waist, holding me fast, stabilizing my quaking form from behind as your free hand begins to probe between my thighs. I whimper...enflamed with a hunger only you can satisfy...alive with the thrusts of your fingers deep within me.
I drop to my elbows, my head resting on my forearms as you begin to massage the one place that will send me spiraling into oblivion. Your fingers part my melting crevasse...probing...guiding...and in an instant I feel your rigid shaft plunge full stroke into my quivering belly.
"AHHH!" I cry, your possession massive and unexpected. You pause...allowing me to adjust to your rapid intrusion...then begin to move in ways that defy words... emotions. I bite my lip as I feel your fingers...your hardened flesh consume me...drive me to the very edge. My control flees, and just as your touch tips the balance between sanity and total abandon, you withdraw.
I cry out once again...this time in frustration as your maddening fingers cast my reserve into the abyss. Why did you...why did you...and then I know. Shuddering uncontrollably as my climax becomes all-consummate, I feel your steely shaft pressing once again, but this time at my narrower passage.
"Do you want this, Sarah...do you?" you rumble heavily. "Tell me...I want to hear it...say it now," you plead.
My nails drag the sand before me. "Ohhhh, Jim...ohhhh. Please...please...I want..." and then my voice, my words are lost in mindless babble...the senseless utterings of a woman whose civilized veneer has been stripped to the core.
Once more you thrust...filling me with your presence... sending flames of pain and passion throughout my body. If not for the arm that still holds me tight, I would now be quivering on the sand, writhing before you in total abandon.
Again you plunge...and again until my cries fill the wilderness, my metamorphosis complete. No longer am I the reserved schoolteacher who accompanied you to this place of tortuous passion...I have been replaced. In my stead lies a wanton creature for whom desire holds no secrets...primal need no mysteries. Everything in my world has ceased to exist...for me there is only you...and I...and the intimate coupling which joins us.
Finally...with one massive plunge, I feel your seed fill my hungering void...hot...burning...and I allow myself one last desperate act of completion. Stripped of strength and reason, I drop to the sand before you...my body still shuddering in the aftermath of passionate surrender.
Gently you lift me in your arms...enfolding me...protecting me from my inner beast as you sooth the aftershocks that quake my trembling form. My vulnerable side...my primal persona slips quietly into the velvet darkness of the night, and I am once again your Sarah...resurrected from the ashes...whole and clinging in your embrace.
You brush your lips against my sweat-soaked forehead, like a parent checking for the signs of fever, and smile. You feel close, protective, but not at all surprised at the turn of events. You knew that this fiery doppelganger existed all along, lying hidden deep within me...awaiting the dawn of your touch alone. It was I who had failed to recognize my seething core...but no more...no more. The meal we've prepared tastes so much better now...the textures and flavors almost vibrant against my tongue as though a part of me that was dormant has suddenly come to life. My senses reel. Is this the same world I awoke to just this morning? Could it be?
Quietly, we put the camp to rest, and then curl up again in our cozy nest amid the down. You start to speak...perhaps to whisper my name here in the solemn sanctity of the wilderness once more, but a touch of my finger against your lips silences you. I roll my eyes skyward, and hear the soft intake of your breath...for above us swirl the "euwakee", the Northern lights, filling the night with undulating curtains of color.
"The Inupiat believe that if you whistle at the "euwaukee" they'll swoop down and cut your head off," I tease, stroking my index finger softly against your throat.
You chuckle...a throaty sound that I've come to cherish. "Then lets not whistle," you laugh, capturing my hand between your own. "I wouldn't want you to lose your head."
Gently you hold me in your arms, chasing the world away, sharing the warmth of your body...your essence...with me alone. I snuggle into your embrace...no questions...no answers...just a pristine sense of here and now that fills our souls. The spirit of this place enfolds us in mystic solitude. We close our eyes, the sigh of the breeze and the crackling of the flames singing a lullaby that only we...in all of the universe, can hear...and drift away.
Dawn comes long before we are ready. Once again we share our bodies in tender exchange, knowing that our time here is at an end. As all things must pass, so too has our escape into the wilderness. Far beyond these glacial peaks...beyond the muskeg riddled tundra, lies a place that calls even now for accountability.
We pack your Stearman, and once more head into the wind, gazing poignantly as our sheltered vale drops away below us...ours no longer. But was it ever ours, I wonder...or did it hold claim to us instead? Will it preserve our footprints as we bear our memories...forever fresh...forever vital? Have we taken a part...the most important part with us on our return to the "real world"?
Gently we rise, the rumble of the engine filling us as we bank weightlessly to the north...waggling our wings in fond farewell. I turn my head...my heartbeat slows. My eyelids close, capturing an image within...a memory...a living photograph. For a brief instant, Paradise was ours. You felt it too...I know without ever asking...a memory shared, forever young...invincible against the ravages of time.
Time drifts slowly onward...life passes beneath our wings...but some things are eternal.
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