HARDANGERFJORD, Norway: Edward has a story teased on the cover of National Geographic Traveler and I forgot to bring the issue (he's been in Greenland the last two weeks). Luckily, a companion donates her copy.
He sought the "Quietest Place on Earth" and wrote an epic piece, ostensibly about the Canaries (not so silent, as it later emerged). But the article's more than all that: it's a philosophical treatise, a lifestyle manifesto, even a love letter.
"I sit until I'm simply here," his tale explains. "Long before we walked upright on the savanna, long before church bells defined a territory of belief, long before there were Abba revivals in Las Vegas, we clung to our branches and listened to the wind move through the trees around us, and we were home and we were safe and we were perfectly, perfectly calm."
My eyes are suspiciously liquid as the text arcs into its denouement. Edward stares out the bus window and grumbles: "I can't look at it. And what's with all these salmon farms? The meat doesn't taste good and they pollute."
"Oh, Ed, it's brilliant," I interject.
Then, because he's so baleful and doubting, I add an author's highest compliment: "I wish I'd written this."
And quickly, before his protest registers: "Then I could have shortened all those damn run-on sentences."