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Miller Canyon Wilderness, Huachuca Mtns, AZ

Who am I and when did that question become so difficult?

A mother. A writer. A woman trying to make sense of it all, balancing the past and the future when only one really matters. Seems there should be more.

We drive along Highway 80 past Starvation and Skeleton Canyon – indicative of past events - and south toward the border. My hair is flat and bent from 3 days of non-stop hat wearing, ballcap or straw, and I wet it with drinking water in some attempt to reinvigorate things then hang slightly out the window like a dog, one hand shaking the wet strands out while the other steers.

At Miller Canyon a spring runs beside the trail - a small bouldery little thing. From out of the dappling shade a deer startles the horse and I look up to see a nest of some sort above us in the still bare branches. The snow and rain have left the area but for a moment a slight drizzle falls and then disappears again as if never there.

Border Patrol hovers above the Huachuca Mountains to the north - a stationary white blimp sitting in the sky like a cloud that just won’t budge. We follow the trail with its curves and swales up around to the edge of this backcountry where the country isn’t so back after all but rather forward looking and north toward Carr Canyon. In places I steer the horse trying to give him better footing. He stumbles along regardless.

By midday the sun holds me in that easy way known only to longtime lovers, relaxing her grip with each shady area and then welcoming me back again. Why some confuse love with ownership I will never understand.

Below me people go about their day unaware of a rider moving along the face of this mountain. Lost in life perhaps. For a moment I lose my sense of center trying to watch them.

But there is no reconciliation between the life which calls and the life I have and soon it will be one or the other. It is a simple thing really. A glimpse of what can be means no more settling for what is. The back and forth becomes unbearable and there is only one way left to go.


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