Claude and Vera had done this walk many times, a loop around the pond. The trees all about helped set the mark of the seasons for them — from the first wink of green to the thick leaf canopy, to a single leaf blushing scarlet (as if someone had seen its underside), to an autumnal kaleidoscope, to the last reluctant leaf to fall.
Hand in hand, Claude and Vera walked the loop around the pond, every week for years upon years. Mostly, they walked in silence. For it seemed more fitting to hear the world around them during this time: others talking, kids laughing and yelling, dogs barking, and — most of all — the wind rustling the leaves (in the attempt to flip up the leaves and show their undersides).
On this particular walk in autumn, Claude noticed how long his and Vera’s shadows were. And how hunched their shadows looked. Had they been like that last year? He wasn’t sure. To him, their shadows looked like two bent branches on the same tree. Bent from age and the wind, but still strong.