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  • There are days in the heat when you dream of the high pines. The gossamer green through webbed lime green, the shush of the trees in the high dry wind, the clear crystalline light, before the high fires begin.

    There are days in the heat down in the salt low reaches, when you wake up with the fossils of fishes and you hear the small hidden pupfish making their prehistoric way through the muddy waters, hidden.

    There are days when you want to lie down with the fingerling fossils in the quiet shade for the next millennium, to get out of the heat. Days when a car casting a narrow shadow can save a man's life. Days when a rock formation is everything, if it has an overhang.

    There are days when we yearn to get back to water. Which is to say: to our own insides. To our own molecular oceans, to our own thinking coral, to our muddy tangy inner kelp.

    There are days when it is all salt. When we dream of salt. Piles of salt, factories of salt, salt harvesters with aprons and baskets.

    There are days when we don't know what a desert is. When we cannot reconcile all the pieces. When we lay about, and dream of a small hotel on a tiny hill in a hidden space, where the one gas pump might be vintage and useless, and a big foray after a couple of tall beers might be to go down that small hill, to examine the gas pump like some found sculpture and then to climb up the small hill, to the small hotel.

    There are days when we dream of higher heights and the green susurration of the webbed trees, and the Number 15. Who knows why? We imagine it, that's why. We imagine it, and we like it, and it brings us water, in our mind. Yes, it will be Room 15 at the small hotel, and it will have a red door and there will be one of those old style metal chairs outside the door, with lots of rust on it. Inside, an old movie will be playing on the room TV.

    Maybe it will be the young Montgomery Clift playing John Wayne's adopted son in "Red River," and we will come back in the room which had the door open so that we could hear the sound, and we will come back in just at the point where Monty clocks the Duke, son clocking father, before father offers son to be part of the family ranch brand.

    Then with the door still open, maybe we will have a glimpse of those high cool trees, and we'll have a nap at the higher reaches, and not feel so lonely anymore, in a small hotel, just this side of the badlands.

    (Painting by Susan)
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