5 manes are waving in the eastbound wind that is moving through the corral. Dink and Donk are munching on oats and beer. The yellow bucket rests on its side. Horses are scattered beside the feeder. Afternoon sun presses down hard. Where the creek crosses the driveway is dry – the water disappeared 2 days ago within an hour.

We celebrated Easter this morning. In her little blue dress and shiny black shoes Anne retrieved the Easter eggs from around the creek that we dyed last night on the porch between rifle and pistol rounds. Cheyenne found 2 eggs and looked up with those big doe eyes when 8 voices reprimanded her for picking up the pink one. Katherine, in her sun dress, played hostess and served water and coffee to the porch dwellers. Hilaire and Hugo ran up Blackjack Butte while Edward and Benoit used the zip line. And Timothy and I collected snails from the creek. Edward joined us for a walk downstream to search for big water beetles. We found water walkers and paddle bugs and algae clumps, and a tree full of bees. Paul, Megan, Timothy, Katherine and I walked back to the main house along the creek. Jumping back and forth across the water on rocks, ducking under live oak, scrambling up cliffs to get around canyons, splashing in the water, picking poppies, munching on mustard, and admiring the art around us. The first turkey vulture of the year flew low over a slot canyon at noon. We returned to the house, I made lime juice, grabbed half a P&BJ and we jumped on the trampoline, followed by more splashing in the creek. I dunked my hair in and they soaked me. There was more “tramping” before dinner and even after, long past nightfall.

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This day was perfect – everything I ever wanted as a child – catching snails in the creek on Easter morn, following the creek all the way to Grandma’s house, shootin’ guns in the afternoon while dying Easter eggs, feeding the horses, playing games all night on the trampoline. I’ve finally made this life happen. It’s not the same as having grown up this way. But it is real. I feel as a part of it as everyone else and I’m cherishing every moment of it – every scurrying lizard, dancing butterfly, crooked sycamore and gleaming primrose, every waterfall and rock display, the song of the canyon wren and the warmth of the blazing sun.

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