First Crush

Cloud cover lay over the coast like a blanket of cotton batting. The Andean Cordillera, a spine of jagged peaks, punctured the fluff. The hills, sere by the end of summer, had taken on the richly desiccated colors of autumn. A patchwork of tilled fields appeared as we descended into the valley, and I was startled by the intimacy—ocean, valley, hills, mountain range—so close in the damp air of early fall.

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