I sat for a long while, till the owls hailed each other again and the coyotes. I felt a chill on my teeth as I grinned and spoke: "To hell with the humans." Something in me didn't want to say that, but I said it anyhow, Tim's loud machine shut down, the rackety hot rod gone. To hell with every bumbling woman and man. The land has its claims, and so do the beasts and birds, the reptiles and bugs. And the quiet that is never a quiet: chitter of rodents; bittern's thump; coyotes' correspondence; acorns and pinecones dropping to earth in little papery crashes.
Now, though, from the tent there came the harsh clap of a cough. I had been thinking there was nothing on earth more important than what I could gather with my senses on the Lookout. The hell with the humans, I had said, and then 10 yards away the sound of Tim's lungs had cut through the wildsong that held me.
The fog touched my soles now; firelight came through it, and moonlight, bathing my boots and the woods and the granite in phosphorescence. I had looked out on a valley and listened to precious sounds and decided: There's nothing as important as this.
But, of course, there was, there is.