The old man climbed down the mountain. Barefoot. Gaunt. Skin brown as the dirt beneath him. Moving as fast as the river flowed.
In the meadow, he met the white-tailed deer. “We know. We know,” they said. At the thin copse of pines, he met the hawks. “We know. We know,” they said. The trout came when he drank from the stream. “We know. We know,” they said. Grateful for their understanding, the old man continued down the mountain.
Later that night, his body swung from a village sign, surrounded by a half-circle of villagers. “Why, oh why?” they said.