The road back was better known: Albuquerque, Flagstaff, a restless night in a Needles motel.
Barstow the next morning, then a wrong turn onto Route 66, the road on which I escaped my
childhood. So, a U-turn to back roads through small towns take us home.

On Kennedy Ridge Trail today, I recall a sunless New York apartment, roaches skating on
greasy walls. On the radio: "The President's been shot." Later, "The President is dead."
The way is steep. The hills are green in spite of drought. This path has no way back.

With Pleistocene boulders poised behind me, gulp water with a dry rice cake, slightly salty; then walk, half-sliding down the trail. Animal paws and human shoes leave equal impressions. Some spirits have risen to the summit. Some spirits float across the valley's floor.