The final picture: My father's camp, where we enjoy a cookout, some beers, and a deep sleep.

September 6, 1999, 10:00 AM. I sit on the doorstep of the camp, diffuse light filtering down through the leaves. A gentle rain plays on those leaves like a pianist with a virtually infinite number of fingers playing on a piano with as many keys. I believe that this may be a perfect sound. I picture a single one of those drops descend, billowing, to gently strike the light green spade of a leaf, its impact sending torsional shivers branchward as the leaf gracefully bows and rebounds. A cheerful greeting if ever there was one. The vision shifts, expanding, laboring to encompass each individual leaf within earshot. And I see the beauty I hear: leaves beyond counting, gentleness beyond acceptance, an infinitude of heaven's caresses. Air burgeoning with grace bundles each and every glistening green impact into the compressions and rarefactions which make their own sublime impact on my ears. Yes, this must be a perfect sound. It fills my sphere of perception with gentleness, and for a moment I am full.

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