The wind has dropped and a thin, even pencil-line of smoke is climbing the still summer air.
"Is it warm where you are?"
At the bottom of the strand of smoke is a lit cigarette. It is sitting in a clean, white saucer on the grass. Crickets are singing in nearby undergrowth.
"Do you have many animals there?"
Behind the saucer is a comfortably human-sized bump in the grass: not too big, not too small. The air is carrying the smell of recently-disturbed soil to his nose.
An unidentified bird starts singing, quite close to him: coo-COO. coo-COO. coo-COO. It stops for breath, then repeats itself.
My uncle is slowly falling into a sunlit reverie. His voice is getting more distant, and he leans back on a small vertical limestone slab. Lichen cracks off and falls onto his shirt. The smoke continues rising, uninterrupted, silent.
"You—all this—this is you, you're feeding this, it's yours, did you know that?" he asks, drowsily.
A bee hums past, avoiding the smoke. Two birds scuffle in a nearby tree. There is a silence: and my uncle, with his eyes closed and his back warmed by the sundrenched limestone, calmly carries on playing twenty questions with the dead.