Ember and I spent half our last day together watching our friend the Botanist collect wildflowers for her field guide. I took them both to my favorite place to hike to—property that rich people owned and let us use, God knows why. But it’s beautiful, and neither of them had ever been, so there we went. We talked a lot about work, and life, and the two were interchangeable, the way they always are at camp. As the Botanist paged through her guide, I asked if they had ever heard the story of the man who had built the stone ampitheater where we sat. They said no.
“His idea,” I said, “was that nature reclaims everythng in the end. And so everything he built was built to be grown over.”
Neither of them seem quite as impressed by this as I had been when I first heard about Skip’s philosophy. They shrugged. Ember lowered himself into the recessed bench and fussed with his glass pipe, which had broken under the strain of one too many hits with a blowtorch the night before. (What does it say about me, I wondered, that I love people who need blowtorches on a daily basis?) The Botanist continued examining the wildflowers growing around us, and I thought of the Real World, so quickly impending. I was still thinking of it, with a growing sense of despair, when Ember returned to his spot next to me and tucked his head, catlike, into the hollow of my neck. I smiled and ran my fingers through his hair.
I decided that, for better or worse, I liked this world better. I am building myself to let my own nature reclaim me.