They skirted the edges of a swamp. Tall grasses waved in the breeze, and cattails showed off their furry brown cylindrical heads from which seed tuffs billowed out. Mara, enjoying the beauty of the place, imagined the classic conk-la-ree ending in a musical trill that its seasonal resident red-winged blackbirds would make there. In her mind, she could hear the scolding chak chak chak of the females of the species alarming their kind, along with the interspersed rattling of a flock of sandhill crane. Unfortunately, both varieties had already made their way south for warmer climates.
Beyond the swamp, they traveled in silence for some time. The twins seemed to have turned introspective, as each looked forward to meeting, for the first time, the eldest of their six other sisters.
Soon they passed through the town gates and came to a stop at a house just inside of them. Built of logs, its sturdy presence suggested that someone cared well for it. Herb gardens sidled up near the front entrance. The stalks and leaves of some of the plants had already turned brown. Still, the dusty scent of sage, and the savory aroma of thyme, filled the air. When the first freezing nights came, they too, would die away, then await a spring rebirth.
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