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July in Eureka 

About a dozen people on folding chairs in the rotunda of the Morris Graves Museum. The old brick building at Sixth and F, formerly the Carnegie library. It's Sunday afternoon free jazz. A four-piece combo backing up a singer: April in Paris.

The town is hushed and gray, its citizens fled to the hills or cowering indoors. The singer's voice an island in the fog.

I've known her through several life-times. In one she was married to a fisherman who was lost at sea. We've met and talked, mostly at meetings, through a lot of summers. Now a jazz singer.

I keep taking off and putting back on my sunglasses. Coming in a side window, not exactly bright but blinding, not really light but the ghost of light.

When she's through a kid with a saxophone comes up. He's good, though not many summers in him. I listen as I stroll into the gallery and sit down in front of Morris's heron triptych.

Time breaks down into moments that go on forever. Former lives and future lives and this gray afternoon. The music flows down F Street to the boat basin, slips into an empty berth. Waits for it to clear.

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Jerry Martien

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