Monday, March 18, 2013

Giving 'Till it Hurts


The jagged canine juts from Mother Earth’s exposed jaw, a dark, foreboding stone in the center of a 30 mile round dirt pancake. Shiprock they call it and the town attached to its jawline. The Navajo called it Tsé Bit a í, or Winged Rock. Whites thought it resembled a clipper ship’s sails. I only saw it as a distraction, the only thing visible on the horizon for hours, a lighthouse buoy in a sea of dust.

Bored, I’d decided to count the breaths I’d need to inhale while passing from one end of town to the other. I reached the number one. A few breaths later though the world lit up in reds and blues as a squad car slipped in between my Shadow and the village border. He was obviously unhappy. He passed it on to me, as is the custom.

A few hours before I’d been rocketing through the last of Colorado at slightly over 110 miles per hour. And now? I was being tagged for 56 in a 55. Some might think of it as karma. I’d describe it more as revenue enhancement. No doubt the town needed a new “Welcome Visitors” sign, and I’d just been anointed the latest reluctant benefactor.

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