Somewhere between Flagstaff and Gallup the desert exhales and stretches its red rocky arms. The cracks in its skin sprout life and the plateaus rise up, carrying with them the scrub brush and cacti with red prickly fruit. The sky sinks down onto the highway and clouds come in close for a better look. There is music in the landscape. Harmonies are sung between the rusted talus slopes and the dry riverbeds. Splintering signs with peeling paint point to adobe and teepee storefronts hocking foreign kitsch alongside native art. The warm air of evening slips through the vents and the cabin fills with desert breath.
Our son might be asleep, he might be studying how the young rabbit says good night to the comb and brush, he might be watching rocks blur pass the window to disappear behind him. The memory of the Grand Canyon, Cañon as Muir writes it, is recent but not fresh in our mind as everything that comes from the horizon presses against it to make room for itself. The queue of foreign voices sinks back with childhood birthday parties and college papers, the hazy sunset drive along the rim falls behind swimming lessons and a cat adoption. Radio silence is only replaced by the gentle white roar of wind curling around the sharp corners of the Volkswagen. There comes a point when music can add nothing further to an experience that is in itself already whole. And the horizon grows and grows.