2walking down to the stream to get a batch of water, then they were intheir prime. Neither of them knew what this attraction to disaster meant.They had their LL Bean woolens, so many times ill used that you wouldview them as rags, and their Goose Down sleeping bags and 50 belowboots. And they had their stories.The scud had cleared out from the previous night’s storm and the skyover the ridge on Mt. Bond was pristine with the high arctic blue of thebig cold. They didn’t even bother to set up the tent. They laid a groundcloth on the snow, and slid into their bed rolls and watched the sky darkenand get ﬁlled with the night sky. They were for a long time silent with adreamlike astonishment. Then Paul Paris said, “Count the lights in thesky, but don’t tell the number. The number means nothing in comparison.I never trusted numbers. And yet they bounce around; they areeverywhere, and how do you get away from them?”This is the story Paul Paris told Eddie that night.
In fourth grade Mr. Edel was my teacher. Though not a veteranteacher, he was experienced with children. I believe that he loved hisyoung students. He looked upon us with the same quizzical benevolenceas the people at the zoo look at the especially chatty and friendlymonkeys in the cage. Sometimes he’d stop completely still, and his eyesﬁlled with a dreamy and sad expression. I have never seen since anexpression of such sorrow and sweetness. His classroom was always veryorderly; something in that expression made us wiggling legions still.He was smallish, short. He was supposed to be living with hismother, an oddity even tiny people wondered about. Could he be one of