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Straight to Heaven

In Zuni, if I have it right (and often I don’t), you go through several incarnations after this human one. The first are as food-giving game animals like deer or antelope. But the last—right before you go to heaven to dance for eternity—is as sho:mi:do’kya, the little black stinkbug that raises its tail on our desert’s red earth.

I once had a stinkbug crawl into my old Intellifax 1270 and die there. This caused a paper jam and permanent scratches on the drum, but I felt kind of touched that somebody went to heaven from my fax machine.


Season’s First

A day both cool and warm. Hazy clouds, pumice sand underfoot, soft wind hushing in the ponderosa. The water of Peralta Creek was icy with runoff, milky with pumice dust.

We bushwhacked up a box canyon full of oak brush and wild roses; I bled furiously. Strong smell of skunk or weasel. A swallowtail butterfly in erratic flight, bright yellow among the worn boulders.

Caught the first horned toad of the year: a fat one, with  salmon belly and yellow side-fringe. About the size and heft of an Oreo cookie.