The leaves are turning

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The leaves are turning red and gold in the hills west of Tokyo. Waking up this morning, I took a walk up a mountain road damp with recent rain. Yellow and brown leaves speckled the pavement like confetti.

It was idyllic. Pine and wet bark scented the air--a refreshing change for my smog-filled lungs. Only my footfalls and a rushing river in the valley below broke the silence. No cars roared by; there wasn't even the squeal of bicycle brakes. Not a single cell phone rang.

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