The Meeting at the BenchRings of redwood trees had been planted in concentric circles around theamphitheater hundreds of years ago; it was closer to a thousand if he had read thesign correctly. The ruins of both the original planted rings and the seats of the theatre were stillvery easy to make out inside the grove. Grove seemed such a small word for sucha large expanse of space under tree tops ten stories high. Trees rose like templecolumns shading the light that filtered to the needles and ferns that formed theforest floor giving one the feeling of being inside a great building. One could seequite a ways through this forest. The overall impression was one of being inside acathedral so large one could not make out the roof.Some of the giant trees had fallen and been turned by the caretakers into raisedpaths. The big round trunks were flattened on the top side providing a walkwayalmost a story above the ground. From place to place steel handrails were attachedto the sides of the massive fallen trees providing many a good place to lean andgaze at this or that vast, spectacular view. Here there was bridge to another fallentree, there one found steps down to where paths continued on the forest floor.Everyone going through this grove to the tress on the edge, that is everyone goingto the end of OM’s life was filtering through these woods or flying like bugs throughthe air through this living temple of ancient trees. The newcomers liked to havetheir tree form at the edge of forests of larger trees.Bill was stopped on an overlook leaning against one of the steel handrails, wherethe forest was still dominated by the oldest, thousand year old trees, growing in along curved line they had been planted in and from which one could see some of the seats of the old Amphitheatre exposed to the air. The way forward was on theback of a fallen tree that had fallen over an edge of that same seating and nowformed a bridge over the ruins.As usual, he was wondering about three things at once when the call came.He was wondering about what they should call the people who had left them theseruins. “Our Ancestors” was quite popular, as was “The Ancestors” and “TheAncients”. How inaccurate that was could not be more stunning. No, not a humanand not anyone else who had any claim to that name of Descendant was anywherenear this world. No one knew where the descendants of this world’s first people fledto during the war. This was now a world becoming twice settled. What was thesecond civilization going to call the one before it? Other worlds were abandonedand most, if not all of them, were going to get a second turn. Yet there was noname for the first round. He liked “The Ancients” which many used, yet they werenot that ancient and they were not “our” Ancients. His own world had twocivilizations following each other with an 8,000 year gap, but both of those hadproper names and they were the ancestors of one of the two modern peoples. TheAncients were human, but also gone without a trace and without any descendants.He kind of liked “First Colony” which was at least accurate for this world.