The sitting

Glimpses of white shone against the dark of trees as I drove past the niche of sassafras and black walnut there, where the horseshoe east of Snicker's Gap straightens into Bluemont.

On the way back I slowed: large patch of beard, clean white sweat shirt, mane; small twists of the same hirsute white like pulled-up awnings over caves of eyes; and well beyond the boulder the man sat on crossed, king-size canvas feet. What features I could spy in all the combed white fall were unremarkable and still as river stones.

Whenever I drove to Bluemont at five-thirty, he was there. I took to nodding as I passed. Lordly, he barely acknowledged me and instantly resumed his vigil. Who was he; what was it he expected from that fold in the oldest mountains?

At last I asked at the village store.

''William Jason Dapplewood, that's who, and what he's waiting for's plain. Blue Ridge history to be corrected, guess he'd call it. Year back, he was walking home from work unkempt, painty overall, when some slick with a District tag snapped his likeness and took off. Newspaper man, he thinks. Bothered him no end. Since, he's waited every evening that was fair.''

''What on earth for?''

''To have his other picture taken, ma'am, for the record, that's what, for the record to be whole.''

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