Thursday, November 13, 2014

Zuni in November: Indian Summer (A Sketch)

Smells of juniper and pinon pine sawdust waft off the pickup trucks carrying loads of firewood through town. Every once once in a while, one of the stove-length logs falls off and bounces along the highway. Soon enough to prevent a wreck, another pickup stops to pick up the split wood.

A young woman runs along the highway, training for the state cross-country meet . Her black hair bounces along her back, dark as a raven's cloak. Her dog runs alongside, nose low enjoying the scent of elk and sheep.

Three boys do their best to dress like gang-bangers as they shuffle along the sidewalk, hands in pockets, hoods over heads. 

Men sell carved fetishes at the only gas station, just past the only stop sign. Dust blows.

Grasshoppers feed on their dead brethren. They know time is short and find warm eddies of sun out of the wind.

Domed ovens covered in terracotta mud stand in waiting for fuel and loaves of bread. 

There are ruins on the mesa, pot shards covered in dust, history beneath dessicated stands of Indian bush.

The town secrets keep their own company. Kachinas will dance when the tourists have gone home. 

Nights are clear and cold. Stars, like tiny flecks of ice, shimmer against the blackness. Days are still warm, though. No snow yet. Just wind. Lots of wind. And dust.

Megan leaves for her teaching job before the sun comes up and she returns after it has set. She lives in the casita, a portable building without running water. The privy is cold in the morning.

But she doesn't much mind. It's where she wants to be. Winter is coming, but has been delayed by the last taste of summer.

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