“Do you know what we call that in Italian?” asked Francesco.
The field in which we were standing, one of the few places in San Diego County that was still native grasses, native plants, never cultivated, had burned the year before. Burning was part of its life cycle, and I’d been able to watch the blackened earth send up bright pink owl clover that spring.
Francesco was my student at the international school where I taught English as a Second Language. He was in my advanced level reading and literature class. He was not a kid, but still ten years younger than I was. The first day of class he had asked me if I knew where to hike in the area and where to find the places where the native people had lived.
I wondered how he had known to ask me that. Later I learned that his sister…
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