Lucky Quietgem stood alone in the meadow. The tall, pale gold grass rippled like ocean waves in the wind, the twilight sky clear and dark. If Lucky stretched her neck, she could look over the hill and see endless rolling golden slopes, and beyond that the mountains, where the last remains of the scarlet sun glowed.


Lucky turned, flicking her tail. It would be dark soon, and cougars would be out and about. But just as she was heading for her den by the Lone Oak, she froze.

Among all of the dry, almost lifeless grass of Lime Ridge, a single golden poppy stood. It was healthy and tall, with beautiful flowers climbing its stalks.

Lucky sighed. Not many poppies would survive: it was to be a cold, dry winter in Contra Costa County.

She padded over and nosed the orange blossoms, breathing in their sweet scent. A soft breeze brushed her fur, whistling through her ears. She raised her head and let out a soft howl. Overhead, a condor circled, swooping off into the endless coastal mountains, into the sun and all its glory.

In memory of Poppy. I will love you forever.

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