s hot as it is today the sand feels cooler as he digs his bare toes deeper down. This is one of his favorite things to do in the desert. He stands with his naked back to the sun looking towards the high rock wall he had scaled wondering if today is the day. Turning slowly towards the sun he begins walking again.
With the sharp curious eyes of the young, he sees the jackrabbit ahead turn and stand motionless watching him. With a twitch of its ears, the rabbit dashes behind a small dune barely visible once again behind a scrub bush. Careful to avoid the thorns on the brush and unconsciously stepping around the devils claws half buried in the sand, the little seven year old continues his slow walk into the desert. Glancing over his shoulder he notices that the jack rabbit has risen to its hind legs, nose twitching in the air, ears erect, perhaps testing the boys passage.
A small lizard rushes from his path towards a clump of tumbleweed, its tail like a little rudder in the sand leaving a track in the lizard's wake. If the boy wished to he could probably catch the lizard as he had several before, but he really had no desire to harm the creature. Others he had captured had not seemed happy to be taken home to share with his mother and sisters so he had returned them soon to their desert. He remembered one whose tail had been left wriggling in the sand, remembered thinking it must have hurt. Then his teacher had told him that some lizards left their tails behind to distract predators while they escaped. Still, it must have hurt.
Carefully smoothing the sand and brushing the debris aside with his foot, the boy remembers how his mother had complained about the sand he tracked into the house. Sitting now in the sparce shade of a clump of brush he slowly empties each cuff of his jeans of their load, listening to the sound of the hot wind through the dry branches of the brush. Closing his eyes he wonders if the wild Indians his mother says he is related to ever sat where he is and rested. Daydreaming now, pictures of Cochise and Geronimo remembered from his books float through his mind and drift off again with the wind.
Through the whisper of wind and imagined voices of his heroes another sound draws his attention. A sort of buzzing sound, but more like a stick quickly shaken in dry leaves. Slowly opening his eyes he searched for the source of the sound settling finally at the base of the bush a few feet away to his left.
Apparently, the young rattler had also taken its rest in the shade of the bushes, away from the scorching hot sun, or perhaps it was simply waiting for its evening meal to wander by. Either way it doesn't seem pleased to share its refuge with the boy, yet also doesn't keep up a constant buzzing tail but pauses as if uncertain, its tongue flickering, tasting the air between them, the few rattles on its small tail alternately quiet then vibrating.
The boy remembers the look on his mother's face the last time he had brought a snake home to share with them. His father said even the babies could make him very sick although they hadn't seemed inclined to bite him. This one isn't acting very friendly but at least appeares to be willing to keep its distance, although the boy knows that could change. As the sun is falling closer to the horizon and dinner time nearer, one of them will have to make a decision. (more Crap…)