She brought her hands together, creating the whoosh of air before the resonate clap. She smiled and wondered if the sound was echoing far over the valley. Perhaps it was, she thought, perhaps it was flying over the large space being heard by birds in the trees until it became nothing more than a speck then nothing at all. She did it again. She doubted the whoosh would hardly echo, but the clap might. She laughed, because valleys and echoes were such a laughable matter to her in the moment and sat down upon the rock. Below a flock of birds erupted from between the trees and flew high into the sky, perhaps, she thought, because her echo had startled them.

"Will you come?" She called to them, but they were too far away, already just dots in the sky. She wondered about what type of birds they were, but she knew nothing about birds and to her knowledge they may have been just as likely to be albatrosses as they were to be pigeons. Birds were not her speciality.

"You're not going to jump are you?"

She turned with a start at the voice behind her, and wondered what the boy was doing walking along the rock.

"Of course not, I'd just slide down if I were to." Just off where her feet dangled there was more rock which she imagined, with a purposeful stance, could create a good slide.

"Oh." He came and peered down beside her, as if to check she wasn't lying. "What were you doing then?"

She almost questioned him about prying, but she was a good-natured girl and didn't mind. "I was watching my echo startle the birds." Perhaps, she thought, that it wasn't her echo that startled them but the boy wouldn't know that.

"May I watch with you?"

She nodded and he sat down beside her, his feet touching the rock below.

"If I jumped I'd be fine," she said, seeing his feet. "You would be too."

"That's a good thing, if we slip we'll be fine."

She wondered if he was afraid of slipping, with his hands resting on the rock as if to grip it.

"Don't you like heights?"

"No, do you?"

"Without heights there wouldn't be this valley." She smiled. "There wouldn't be trees for the birds to rest nor anything to startle." She laughed. "There would be no echo."

He didn't seem to find the joy that she found but smiled still.

"Show me your echo."

Neither wondered at how an echo could be seem but instead the girl just reached out her hands and brought the air together to reach the resonate clap.

Below a single bird flew into the air.

"There wasn't an echo," he said.

"Your echo travels further than you."

"Not that far."

"You don't know that."

And indeed, he didn't know that, but she knew, that she didn't know how far an echo travelled either.

"Try it."

He paused for a moment as if debating whether it would be juvenile or not but then seemed to shrug inside. Reaching out his hand he brought them together.

Nothing moved down in the valley.

"See," he said. "No echo."

"That's because you didn't do it hard enough. You need to want an echo."

He laughed a small bit inside, wondering at what he was doing. But still, he reached out his hands again. With a swift movement the whoosh came and then the resonate clap.

Down in the valley birds erupted from their trees, flocks upon flocks of them, darting into the sky, flying and soaring as they poured out into the air.

She laughed with complete and utter joy and he joined her at once in her chorus.

"I hardly think there are any birds left there," she said once her laughter had subsided into a smile.

"Perhaps echoes do travel far."

Perhaps, she thought, as they continued to watch the birds, they would be settled again by tomorrow. And perhaps, she hoped, the boy would join her again and together they could create another echo.

"Do you think," he said. "That the birds will ever expect an echo?"

"I'm not sure."

"Will you come tomorrow and try with me?"


And for many more echoes the birds never seemed to expect it.