Dad and I are headed to the hills, he in his GMC Sierra pickup, me in mine. Dust kicks up from the rear tires, blowing up into the blue sky toward the high desert mesas. The slot canyons and sandstone cliffs are minutes from our family's ranch, a rugged playground where my father and I have always escaped to bond and horse around, usually with a rifle or a shotgun pointed at the footwell, appropriate for plinking at rocks or clay pigeons.
The dirt road is rough, rutted, and utterly familiar. I grew up here in the Four Corners region of New Mexico, near the Colorado border, and it is home. Not where I've lived for the last twenty-two years, but the home I think of when I get lonesome. At 5000 feet, it is high desert, thirsty and sage-colored but also beautiful and open, tempting the eye to the horizon fifty miles away. The nearest town is Kirtland, which has a single stoplight. No wonder I didn't learn to parallel park until my twenties.