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and maybe things will be okay. you're settled in the passenger seat of your classmate's tiny blue smartcar, sun flashing across the ice in your starbucks (her treat), just relishing the sixty-something afternoon weather. coming back to her car three hours later, down from the mountain, and it'd been almost too hot. the windows stayed rolled down until the interstate. spring's a little shy this year, but she'll come around. your chest feels free, and you think that maybe this is love of circumstance, the kind where you fall for the hue of the sky and how the sun hangs in it, or the green of the trees (Thuja plicata) and the way the wind smells. your starbucks is a little bitter, but that's okay, because no moment is perfect. it's easier to fall in love with almost. today is one of the days you count blessings: two years clean. one year in love. six months living. some of these things are more tangible than others, and while your classmate tells stories about her crazy ex-coworkers, you find yourself hoping you get laugh lines like hers. she's a woman who knows what company she likes to keep, and you feel a little honored that you're her company for the quarter. her smile is a switchblade, a slice of white, and her laugh is an inviting thing. do no harm but take no shit. the hike was something of a three-hour whirlwind, of Rubus spectibilis and Oxalis oregana and glycorrizaceae. an attendee collects the sap-laden cottonwood buds from downed branches for the salicylic acid found therein. cow parsnip advertises death. the class is enamored with redwood sorrel, clover-shaped leaves made something tart by the oxalic acid (like the crystals on sour patch kids). these things learned make you excited, even, for next time. it's an experience you can refer to jokingly as brandy and weeds, the post-hike high likely just as good. Brandy's smartcar shifts gears and you thank her (again) for the starbucks. internally, you thank your brain for the serotonin. you find yourself grinning long after she's dropped you off, because maybe things will be okay.