The Blue Beyond the Hills

The blue beyond the hills teems and mist slides down the mountains.


On Todd Field, six friends sit looking at the hills. It’s evening and the sun is beginning to disappear behind the trees. The grass is damp but not too wet to sit on. It bends in the wind.

“It’s Friday. What are we going to do?,” one says. He twirls a blade of grass around his finger and rips it from the ground. He stares at it for a moment, then lets it fall.
One by one, they shrug.

“We could play a game,” one says. She’s remembering the deck of cards she bought from Target one night.

“Like Clue? Or Scrabble?” another says.

“Or Uno.”

“We haven’t played that trivia game in a while.”

“Or there’s Hangman.”

“Or Pictionary.”

“We could watch a movie,” one says, pulling her hands into the arms of her sweater.

“On campus or at an actual theatre?”

“Either one.”

“I don’t want to spend money.”

“We could just go out to dinner.”


“Korean barbecue?”

“Dim sum.”

“I don’t like dim sum.”

“You don’t like anything.”

They go on.


A panting golden retriever runs into a reading group, with a tennis ball in its mouth. It circles twice then runs back to its owner, who calls it from the pathway.

A group of students have started a baseball game. One sends the ball flying into the trees.

In the music building, a pianist plays Satie’s Gymnopédie while a thoughtful audience of one listens outside the door.

A cup drops in the S.U.B. and falls down a flight of stairs. Fellow diners applaud.

A student types at a computer, alone in the library. Her typing does not penetrate the silence.

A man sleeps at the base of a tree. An acorn falls beside him. A squirrel climbs the trunk and crawls onto a branch.

A girl and her girlfriend slip into a car, turn the headlights on, and pull onto the street. They pass a man walking his golden retriever.


Time will pass if we sit here and watch the mist creep down the mountainside, and the blue beyond the hills will slowly fade away.