It was a day when the girl was frustrated. She had been walking through the forest in the dry heat for what seemed like forever. Dried pine needles crunched under foot with every step. She was hot. She was tired. And a small voice inside her said you can rest whenever you want. Still she walked forward. Keep stepping. 

At some point, she found a tree that provided a thin source of cover from the heavy sun. She listened as insects wheezed and birds chirped loudly back and forth trying to find them. She didn’t know why, but a tighteness made itself more present in her throat.

She felt upset by it. A small annoyance that seemed to fill her thoughts so that it was hard to concentrate on anything else, much less the journey ahead. And she knew that to get rid of the feeling she could just drop it at any moment and suddenly she’d be back in forward movement. Propelled, as if by some unseen force. 

She stared at dust. She thought what it might look like if she had water and it was mud. She would pick it up and let it squish in her hands. Let it form. And it would feel — the texture would be soothing. 

There was no water here. It was a long ways off. She was in a place she hadn’t traveled before. She only knew vaguely what to look for. She sighed. 

Looking around, there was one thing that she decided. There was a certain kind of strange beauty in this place. Even if she wasn’t sure what to make of it. And even if she was uncomfortable.

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