What my barks had pinned to the spot, and now Mom’s eyes were stuck to, were a trio of creatures that weren’t quite horses, and weren’t quite cows, and weren’t quite bunnies. “What are they?!?!?!” I whined. “And can I please scatter them like bowling pins?”
"Do you know what they use buoys for?" "They're like road signs but on water, right?" "That's what they want you to think," she said, her voice turning hollow and haunted. "Buoys are like gravestones, they mark where there's a dead body underneath."
“And what puts the zoomies in?” Dogs get the zoomies when our pack is all together and then a door opens. But what do people get zoomies for? I thought about the things that made Mom look forward to a big run. “Isn’t it because they only sell Peanut M&Ms in Share Size?" I guessed.
The path they made seemed like nonsense when you looked at all the pieces together. As it got hotter, I was sure it was all devious Witch trap, and that soon she would push us into an oven, just like Handsome and Griddle.
As we climbed higher, the stark naked mountains exposed more and more of themselves. Mom stared with her mouth hanging open as they revealed the private cracks and scraggly bits that more modest mountains hide under trees and meadows, but when she tried to take pictures, they came out too graphic and messy under such a harsh, unblinking sky.
Just like in nature, it’s the broken places that make people most interesting, but those are exactly the things people try to hide.
Mom was just coming back from checking the woods for a better Wagon hiding spot when a pair of aggressive headlights pulled over from the other side of the road to get a better look at us.
When Mom reached the landing and saw us all waiting for her, she practically screamed. “No hugging!” she choked when she saw me pushing against my new Friend. “Not on the cliff side of the trail!”
What keeps pulling us out of our Stuck House to wander through this part of the country is that it's easier to appreciate what we have when Mom doesn't have to worry about all the responsibilities of having stuff. Things like hot poop juice in Mom's dented cup or turning the heater to sauna mode after a cold hike make us feel more wealthy than all the fancy City espressos in the world.