As an unusually mild, rainy summer was melting away, or rather frosting its way, into autumn, I took to noticing signs that mountain people have always used to judge the forthcoming severity of winter.
To this conclusion I have come: The most deadly years of our lives are the ages 16 to 21. Those years give us a headiness that comes from new freedom - a driver's license - and the passing of the torch from strict childhood rules to more trust, different restraints and relaxed curfews.
Only one thing scares me about dying. It is so momentous it rocks my heart with grief whenever I think of it. It is a tumultuous rocking that resembles the Mississippi River in New Orleans when the ocean is signaling that a vicious hurricane is headed that way.