In the wintry mountains above Santa Fe, the snow is spotted with flecks of soot from the coal-
fired Navajo Generating Station, some 350 miles away.

Walking on a mountain
in Southern California,
I can smell the ashes
of Pompeii.

When Henry was roughing it at Walden Pond, his mother was determining dragons and snakes,
differentiating gems and stones, distinguishing black and white and settling uncertainty, without an
eye on
home, laundering the soot from her son's cabin.