top of page

Book excerpt: Lake Arrowhead State Park, Texas - Dec 2020

I dreamt of a coyote last night - trotting along beside me. As oblivious to my presence as I am enamored with hers. A big, scruffy, wolf-sized thing. Patchwork and wiry, fur thick in places and thin in others. The field wire between us stretched tight, its squares silver and crimped. I know this animal, I’ve seen her before.

We continue forward in this manner, a makeshift boundary between us, until she comes upon a deer carcass, thin and stiff – emaciated. She takes it as hers and turns, pushing through the wire effortlessly.

I’m not sure she ever looked my way.

An hour outside of Lake Arrowhead, an ill-timed U-turn and subsequent collision between a southbound delivery driver and a pick-up truck pointed north. The truck sits, mired in pipe fencing, speared through the engine and into the cab. Both occupants missed by inches.

I stand next to the passenger with an intensity and focus only possible in such a moment. Her soft brittle hand lays in mine, her chest heaving. Deep breaths, I say. You’re okay.

You’re okay.

At Lake Arrowhead the dog jumps out and follows me around to the back of the trailer where I unload, tie the horse to a nearby rail for brushing, and turn to fetch water. The saddle is just heavy enough and needs a good hip-boost, which I give swinging it high onto the horse’s back and then gently lowering its weight. I reach underneath checking for loose dirt and then pull the latigo tight, tracing his body like a lover's.

The trail runs between an empty Frisbee golf course and north toward the lake, through dry brush and brown prairie grass where bluebonnets and paintbrushes hide waiting for spring and to a metal culvert just large enough for a horse to pass.

He's not having it. I dismount, lead him through and there he drops his head to graze and the dog rests panting; her legs are so much shorter than his.

When all have their fill we ride north then south along the edge of Lake Arrowhead. The sun now smug in the sky and as we pass the lake I lift my face then twist in the saddle to look behind, following her tracks with my eyes – a glistening line across the still water.


bottom of page