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Creek Running North

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August 15, 2005

Last night

The town was east of here, and in the desert. I thought of it as Tucson, but it bore a strong resemblance to Reno and to another city as well, one that exists only when I sleep, when California stretches out and a spine of forested hills runs up the meridian of the Central Valley. In those dreams, a small wilderness college town nestles along the east front of those mountains. I've been there half a dozen times. It is familiar and comfortable.

Two old friends and I sought a campsite along a rocky desert lakeshore a few miles out of town. One I have not seen for several years: she and I last parted with some vigor. The other died more than ten years ago, and I had not seen him for fifteen before that. The sun glinted. We scrambled along metamorphic knife-edges, black rock marbled with quartz veins, four-point contact terrain above placid water. The trail led up and over, along the vertices, footholds carved out of the rock like shallow cups.

We found a sandy place to lay our sleeping bags, and then the ranger came to tell us we lacked permits. In the ranger station a room full of people waited, some of them less than patiently. Before the permits would be handed out, we were asked to sit through a presentation. It had not yet ended when I woke.

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decorative line of bighorn petroglyphs

Comments

The tracks are there for all to see, Chris, but you're the only one who can tell us what they mean.

Posted by: tost at August 15, 2005 11:37 PM
decorative line of bighorn petroglyphs

Dreams and dog ends:

When my dog Ranger died, I had to take him to the vet, but I insisted the vet give him a first shot of pain killer, so he'd die without pain. Then my friend and I rubbed him and talked to him, loudly so his deaf old ears would hear it, and told him what a good boy, great dog, best friend he was, before and during the final shot.

I thought I would dream about him a lot in the coming weeks, but it was a full two years before he appeared in ANY dream. I was wrecked from losing him, and I guess some part of me was damping down further pain.

Seven years later, not very often, but sometimes, I wake up smiling from a brief little dream of him.

Posted by: Hank Fox at August 16, 2005 09:28 AM
decorative line of bighorn petroglyphs