> jumping into life.


But I am also made of juniper and cottonwood. I am also made of sagebrush and tufts of coyote fur snagged on the barbed wire fence.

The desert is also in my heart.

Dawn of the second day found our train in Utah: sunrise over the mesas, cloaked in glittering snow. My heart sang with it, sang through the red canyons, the lonesome flats, all cross-stitched with the tracks of desert things. We came into the mountains. I read rabbit and coyote and elk in the snow.

I have sandstone bones.

The man with the gold rings calls this landscape desolate. He says barren. He wrinkles his nose.

My heart sings. I am made of snakeskin, scorpion, and spine. I am made of silence and bright, sharp stars.

I read mice, mule deer, the brown lanes of cattle, the wandering wide steps of geese along the creekbeds, we pass magpies, bald eagles, a flock of ravens that goes on and on and on.

There are some tracks I cannot read.

I am made of mystery, of the shadow under the stone.


This is my winter.

This is the winter I've been waiting for, waiting years for. This is the winter of rain, wind, and sea. This is the six-foot tide meeting the thirty-foot swell meeting the runoff from five inches of rain: seaweed on the far side of the road. This is tree-blown darkness, candlelight, and fireside stories. The twinned current of exultation and fear that comes of watching the waves break high over Bird Rock, watching the branches slap the window, watching the storm.

The ocean is not bounded by her shores. This week she leapt easily over them. All these houses are built on sand. She took the sand with her. She breached the lagoon, breached the tidewall, breached the fumbling edges of my heart.

Oh, yes. The sea is still in my heart. I can hear her now from my bedroom window: restless, waiting. There is another storm coming. I am made of sand, of salt. I am made of brine and shark and twisted cypress. This is my winter. This is my storm.