Staunton, VA

On the way to Staunton, Sue and I pass towns with names like Woodstock, Verona, and Edinburg. The leaves burst brilliant reds and oranges in the glory of the Friday afternoon sun.

Saturday afternoon, we wander around town. The streets swell and drop on the curves of rolling hillsides, brick buildings nestled tightly against one another. It is quiet here. I say this at least once every hour, so striking is it to me.

At the antique store, the clerk's voice bubbles saccharine. In DC, it would annoy me, but here it is charming. We walk into a glass blowing store, a mosaic of color hanging from the ceiling, lining each shelf. I reach out to touch a vase, its smooth surface warm ice to my fingers.

After the play, we sip chai and mocha latte in a coffee shop that is not Starbuck's. One of the actors walks in and says hello. He notices I'm grading papers, mentions the stack of his own in the car. We have never been introduced, but in Staunton, a face once seen becomes familiar.