This afternoon’s mail brought a letter from Rachel. I recognised her angular handwriting immediately, although it was so long since we had heard from her. Intrigued by the bulkiness of the envelope, I opened it slowly.
There was only a brief note wrapped around a pack of snapshots. I called Anne out; together we sat on the front steps and looked through the photos, each thinking of the Rachel we had welcomed to the Valley, comparing her with the Rachel she had become, remembering times together in those far-off Valley days.
Tonight I took out the scrapbook-album we had started soon after we went to the Valley, and turned back to some of the earlier pages. What a tale they told, a tale of the change from the quiet peace of Valley we first knew to, the humming activity of later days. Here were photos of the old school and house, of Mata, its main street slumbering on a hot summer afternoon, of the youngsters on their ponies, the mill yard and its fleet of trucks, of Rodger’s camp, of Rachel with Peter; how quickly their early friendship had developed into a strong attachment for each other.
I turned a page or so further until I came to the cutting Anne had taken from our provincial paper at the time of Rachel’s wedding. How pleased we were when she married, we who had been so sure she would remember the Valley only as a place of sorrow.
It was late before I finished putting the last of the new photos into the book, closed it, and put it away. Anne had brewed a pot of coffee. We sat with it on the steps in the mild autumn air, listening to the tentative piping of the last crickets. One light showed on the back hill-Blake’s place I guessed-a low, lonely star shining as steadily as the light from our house had shone in the distance when we crested the saddle and looked down into the Valley on the night Rachel came.
Hardcover, 186 pages. First Edition. In very good pre-loved condition with the exception of partial fading to the spine. No dustcover.