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Itwasaquietmorning, thetowncoveredoverwithdarknessandateaseinbed. Summergatheredintheweather,thewindhadthepropertouch, thebreathingoftheworldwaslongandwarmandslow. Youhadonlytorise,leanfromyourwindow, andknowthatthisindeedwasthefirstrealtimeoffreedomandliving, thiswasthefirstmorningofsummer. 

DouglasSpaulding,twelve,freshlywakened,letsummeridlehimonitsearly-morningstream. Lyinginhisthird-storycupolabedroom, hefeltthetallpoweritgavehim,ridinghighintheJunewind,thegrandesttowerintown. Atnight,whenthetreeswashedtogether, heflashedhisgazelikeabeaconfromthislighthouseinalldirectionsoverswarmingseasofelmandoakandmaple. Now... 

"Boy,"whisperedDouglas. 

Awholesummeraheadtocrossoffthecalendar,daybyday. LikethegoddessSivainthetravelbooks, hesawhishandsjumpeverywhere,plucksourapples,peaches,andmidnightplums. Hewouldbeclothedintreesandbushesandrivers. Hewouldfreeze,gladly,inthehoarfrostedicehousedoor. Hewouldbake,happily,withtenthousandchickens,inGrandma’skitchen. 

Butnowafamiliartaskawaitedhim. 

Onenighteachweekhewasallowedtoleavehisfather,hismother,andhisyoungerbrotherTom asleepintheirsmallhousenextdoor andrunhere,upthedarkspiralstairstohisgrandparents’cupola, andinthissorcerer’stowersleep withthundersandvisions, towakebeforethecrystaljingleofmilkbottles andperformhisritualmagic. 

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