The fence line along Badlands Pasture has led me to where I sit now – perched on a rock in the depths of Blackjack Canyon. I am enclosed by towering jagged walls that look as though they could crumble from a touch. Beside me water slides down a mossy strip into a triangular turquoise pool about 5 feet below. How fortunate I am to be here during this season while flowing water can still be found. It won’t last. The pool seeps into the ground and resurfaces again about 20 meters down the creekbed where another pool rests among fallen sycamore leaves. Sycamore isn’t budding yet like cottonwood. Live oak spreads green into this canyon. Up on the cliffs are stool, prickly pear, a few juniper, and blooming Manzanita. I may dare an upward scramble to breathe in that delicate scent. Now and then the wind howls past and a canyon wren sings that unmistakable tune. I cannot get over the way the vegetation drapes over the creek. It’s like a scene from a fairytale… and I’m the princess waiting for… a cougar to arrive.

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