On the mountain, I fall in with several other girls. We enter in august ripening-limbs plump, cheeks inflated, our aprons full of apples. My dress matches her dress except for the pattern in pink, and hers matches hers but for the pattern in green, and hers in blue, and hers in lavender, and so on. Coming into the valley, we fall into the procession to follow the wedding party. The nuptials are quick and bracing. Traditionally dinner takes place offstage.
Afterward, the bride leans out her bedroom window. She has been tacked up, boosted, and snipped in at the waist. She balloons out to us in a dusty glow. We move forward in our impromptu offering. I want especially to give her something from my basket, but flowers are scarce, and the grasses parched pale and flaking.
Oh, but she's very generous. She tosses things at us when we should be tossing things at her. All sorts of things, and epithets, and a handful of sparkling powdered soap smelling of lilacs to cover the surface of our lips and hands. Behind her the husband lurks or lingers deceptively off stage, his hands on the bust of a horse.
We depart from this ceremony, and head into the mountains in search of other fruit. A cougar falls in with us, and lets himself be led on a rope. We are coming to know our kind, and we continue up the slope.