We went to the Cattle Growers meeting today. I sat in the backseat in my blue jeans and cowboy boots, holding a tamale pie, watching the landscape fly by, with Jean in front in her denim skirt holding a cobbler, and Eric steering us down the highway eating cheetos in his cowboy hat. We bumped over the washboard of Black Hills Backcountry Byway, past the campground where I slept one year ago, and over the bridge that I stood on then with tears in my eyes because I didn’t know when I would smell creosote again or see a desert moonrise or have coyotes serenade me to sleep under a studded sky. Well, here I am, back in that very enchanted desert. Who woulda thunk I’d be back in Gila Box on Menges Ranch within a crowd of folks in blue jeans, boots, hats, and button down shirts, among them some of the best cowboys in the west like Joe Cannon. There was not a single person in there without denim on. I don’t want to leave this environment. I don’t want to go back to places where this is unusual, where people would look at something like this with a smirk or disbelief. Puppies outside, announcements about burros for sale, auctioning off jellies and applesauce. I’m starting to worry how I can get along in the world after this. I can’t go back. I am interested to see where I end up next, especially since the spring job situation is getting a little dicey.

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