Autumn is coming. The rain was cold yesterday, but I’m always wearing cowboy-cut wranglers which provide good insulation. In the dead heat of Central Arizona, I’m wearing blue jeans, good protection against rattlers and thorny bushes. The trees in town are still dark lush green. The oak on the mountain has not turned yellow, yet. Autumn is a season for whirl-winds and dust-devils, which I see more of in September and October. The harvest brings warm weather but colder nights on Southern Utah’s high desert. It is a choice time for camping in Canyon Country. The heat isn’t so intense and the threat of flash flooding is small. The monsoon storms are quieting down. And soon the rattlers and blow snakes will hibernate, together. The landscape will become still, with a rush of autumn leaves in the wind.
This weekend, my brother, his wife, and I, are going camping for my birthday. I turn twenty-six. In many ways, I still feel very young, but the days are creeping by. Will I ever find another person to share my life? The loneliness does not bother me, which surprises a few. I’m actually very content. Folks are saying to me, hop on the band-wagon, get married, have a bunch of kids! That’s fine, I’m in no rush! That is the small town mentality of Utah. It ain’t uncommon to see a family of twelve walking down the street. There’s a Brady-Bunch in every extended family!
Joe’s wife has never been camping without a tent! She’s a city girl from Mesa, but not so sophisticated. She’s become countrified by Southern Utah culture. With a slip of the tongue I’ve already heard the words, ain’t, gots, reckon, and ya’all! She promised my brother she would sleep in the desert, under the stars, without a tent! We’re going to Toroweap, Calf Creek Falls, or the San Rafael Swell? It’s my decision. She’s never been to the Toroweap Overlook, in Grand Canyon – A 3,500 foot drop to the Colorado River.