Dear friend at the bottom of Star Hill,
You were there the first time I rode my bike down the rough road, sipping coffee from a ceramic mug as you leaned against your minivan. Your sunglasses grazed your white eyebrows and half-covered your long, creased cheeks. The golden light of the California hills poured over you from between the trees, and I could tell you were thinking something both bright and heavy.
The road, seldom traveled by cars, was covered in leaves, and I know you heard the approach of my bike tires as I crunched downhill. But it was not until I turned the bike at the bottom and began the slow climb back up that you spoke.
“Beautiful, isn’t it?” you asked, and I answered, “Just beautiful.”
I never expected to see you again. But when I came in search of beauty down the road a second time, crunching my way through a fog of leaves and grief into the golden light, you were there with your van, your mug, and your deep thoughtful expression. You didn’t speak that time, but you didn’t need to.