The Mourning Dove Song

Three short, sad notes the Mourning doves call to each other from bunches of thick green leaves in the cottonwood trees. The heat pushes up the canyon, and the bright sun chases the shadows into themselves the way a mirage disappears as you approach.

Boots crunched softly in the thick sand along the trail and spotted lizards dart frantically in the low scrub. The pointed ears of a coyote catch your attention as it leaps over a clump of gray grass to pounce on a squirrel eating a seed. A tortoise marches on steadfastly and fearless in his search for a mate. A cottontail nibbles on a juicy young leaf and listens closely to every scratch and pop.

The late morning finally gives way, and high noon approaches as bold as a bully. The air is clear and hot. The sun burns the back of your hands, bringing salt to your dry lips. Your forehead tingles; you push the brim of your hat back and tilt your head forward a bit to keep your face in the shade.