We sloshed around the shallows of the lake, feet sticking, reeds slapping our mouths. He got to the log before me, and I sat down. He stood. The water rippled, and the damp air clung with gnats.
A noise like a thousand bees dying collapsed behind us. Our tree was felled. Its fresh greenery would not brush our cheeks again. The salamanders would find a separate place to drink, nearer to the ground, drying soon without fog seeping into their skin.
"They could come here," he said without turning.
I shook my head. "You live your whole life in a redwood, as a salamander. How would you learn how to swim?"
"Organisms are surprisingly resilient, I've found." He turned to me. "We find our life where we need to."
He slung the climbing rope over his shoulder and we parted the reeds slowly.