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“When I was sixteen, I waited all winter for the snow to melt so I could build a debris hut. But the day I finally tried there was still snow on the ground. I wandered in the woods behind my house for a few hours and found what I thought was the perfect spot. I didn’t bring a blanket, I didn’t bring a ground pad, I was just going out to live the dream," the man laughs. “I didn’t put any insulation under me. I was just on the ground, which an inch below was still frozen solid. So I was just in this hut, in a very naive teenage way, thinking: This is supposed to keep me alive—and knowing that I’m getting colder and colder.”
The trees end and the hill opens up to the sky and sun. Teal and I sit on a knoll and watch the long white beach far below. Figures move slowly down there, wandering from the water back to the dunes, leaving little trails in the sand. We don’t say anything, we don’t need to. I lay back and watch thin clouds pass quickly overhead, dissolving, reforming, and then dissolving again. I think of my own life, and my Grandmother’s, how lives seem to be dependable when we are young, or don’t know death. But like the clouds disappearing above, suddenly a life can be gone.