the sound of distant laughter
floated into his ear like an un-
invited bug, so he kept moving
walking climbing up and up and
up until it was gone. long gone.
he would walk, and then stop:
standing still for long minutes,
just listening. to the desert silence.
red rock and cactus in every
direction and the dirt beneath
his feet. and the sound of it
crunching and the soft thud of
his feet landing as he walked, then
again the silence of stillness. a lizard
scurries under a bush. two female
elk watch from a cautious distance.
deep in a gully far off any path, he
finds a small pool of water, the
faintest trickle dripping off a
rocky ledge. he calls it a water-
fall, smiling. turns out, you can
find water in the desert. but
not by following any beaten path.