Desert Looming

It’s 93 degrees Fahrenheit and climbing. The trail winds around another rock obstructing the view. What looms behind it blots out the trail underfoot. In a dream state, I stumble forward as the heat steals my stamina. But I’m not paying attention to my dehydrating state. I’m lost imagining about what looms around the next turn. A crow glides right over the crest and I see the feathers on its wings twitch in the wind. Only through its eyes do I see the folds of these mountains breaking into the wide desert beyond. I pass by another mound of scat – maybe the third or fourth one – full of juniper berries on the trail and think of what shaded spot the coyote must be panting in right now. Slipping by another rock face, I find a shallow cave with the shade I had yearned for seconds ago. And I sit there to stop the dizziness and sip a ration of water. There is a juniper tree with a burial mound at its feet. These rocks before me speak of Technicolor dreams with danger behind every turn in some old Western movie or the multitude of uses this place had for primitive fantasies and alien planets on film and through this sense of simulation I wonder how this place will seep into my dreams when I pass by the final obstruction of the day and fall to sleep like the crow cradled in the arms of its juniper tree or the coyote curled up in its stone womb.

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