Gripping the wheel, flying toward the looming darkness of the Chiricahuas, Joanna felt incredibly alone….
It had been years since she had traveled Highway 181, but she knew it all too well. It led to a place in the mountains where volcanic activity, combined with wind and water erosion, had carved a forest of spindly rhyolite columns and magically balanced boulders. As a child, that part of the Chiricahuas had been Joanna Lathrop’s favorite place on earth.
J. A. Jance, Dead to Rights: A Brady Novel of Suspense
Not every book I read during my Arizona winters is set in the Southwest, let alone in Cochise County, but just as I enjoy the occasional Michigan mystery in summer and fall, so it seems natural to immerse myself from time to time in fiction and history set here where I spend my winter. Last night I was wide awake at 2 a.m. and got up to read a while, something that hasn’t happened in weeks. Sleepily, Peasy got up from his own bed to follow me and lie on the floor next to my reading chair while I followed Sheriff Joanna Brady to the conclusion of her Cochise County adventure.
Indoors or outside, it’s pretty obvious that a dog lives here, isn’t it? The Artist and I have a little companion wherever we go these days.
But we three are not always adventuring to the Chiricahuas or the Dragoons or making a beeline down the Kansas Settlement Road. Often a day’s “adventures” are a simple trip to the post office and grocery store in Willcox, with stop for coffee (latte for me) on the porch at Source of Coffee, the wonderful new coffee house on Maley Street in Willcox. We usually carry books along with us, and sometimes I take my laptop.
A bungalow is just about my favorite style of house, and there aren’t many in the Southwest (not nearly as many as can be round back in Traverse City, Michigan), so when this one in Willcox was being remodeled last winter I cast many an admiring eye in its direction. Now I’m very happy with what the new owners have done with it – and that they are sharing it with the rest of us!
Peasy may stay in the car or come up with us on the porch, depending on how we’re feeling that particular day, but if he’s in the car you can bet he’s sitting up and watching us like the proverbial hawk, eagerly keeping tabs on us and awaiting our return. Such is the life of a lucky dog who now has a home and family.
The Artist and I are lucky, too. We enjoy our winter days in the sun, however much or little we do on any particular day. There are also phone conversations and texts and mail to fill the social vacuum of these continuing COVID-19 days, and in the past few days I’ve had two long letters from old friends, one back in Kalamazoo and the other up in Seattle. Being separated by miles doesn’t have to mean being out of touch. One of the beauties of a letter is being able to carry it around and pull it out to read whenever the urge occurs. Kind of like always having a book in the car or in your big jacket pocket, isn’t it?
As for Mr. P., he has his own little treasures. This morning it was a deer jawbone he discovered and brought home yesterday. Today on our morning walk, he carried his treasure proudly, lying down several times to gnaw to his heart’s content. I guess chewing can be as much exercise and fun sometimes as running and jumping. Ah, yes, life is good!
Postscript: I hit the jackpot again! Another letter, this one from back home!!!