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Opening Paragraphs "Stranger Amongst Us"


Andrew Bond

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  It was the Autumn Equilux — when light and dark are in perfect balance, the twenty-sixth of September 1904 — a day of portent Ma had predicted at breakfast. It seemed like every time a celestial event happened it was auspicious. “Huw,” she would say. “It is the full moon. Something important is going to happen.” And it would: a baby would be born, a miner would be injured, or Pa would return from trading in Edmonton. Something. 

  But the sun had reached its zenith  — half the day was gone — and nothing had happened. However, if Ma declared a date to be momentous, it was; she just knew. So, I waited. Not that I was idle. In a mining town like Talfryn, there was always work to do at the forge. Picks needed to be resharpened, shovels repaired, mine ponies needed shoeing, drills made, and so on. I loved my work. To take a hunk of iron, and turn it into something useful, something that others’ needed was rewarding in itself. To make it beautiful was my joy. If I could make it sing, I was happy. There was a peacefulness about rhythmically hammering on the anvil. Meditative in fact. And it was so loud no one could talk to you until you stopped and you could choose when to do that. Plus I could use half my brain to guide the hammer and tongs, and the other half to think. I could solve all the problems of the world while I shaped hot iron. Or I could daydream — which is what I usually did.

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