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Oscar-sized

The best thing about this little sprout of a canyon was that it was on my scale, and Mom and I climbed in and out over the rocks, taking in the canyon from all angles. Then we walked out over the sandstone plane that surrounded the canyon-let, losing the trail almost as often as Mom took pictures. Come to think of it, I’m not so sure we were following a trail at all, so much as wandering from one interesting thing to another.

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Turnt at Albuquerque

she kept staring up toward where the sunrise should have been. Instead of a sunrise, there was a giant mountain covered in an armor of thorny rock spikes. Puffy clouds were stuck in the spikes like trash stuck a fence along the freeway, and those clouds were lit up from underneath by the missing sunrise. The whole thing worked like a trap to pull on Mom's eyes like a giant billboard that said CLIMB ME.

Not rock climbing

Even though it was very easy to follow, Mom tripped and swore almost as often as she took pictures because the big rocks above our heads kept stealing her eyeballs making the rocks under us steal her feet.

World falling down

Suddenly, I heard a loud rumbling coming from high on the mountain. It sounded like a crack of thunder, and rumbled in my ears like a gunshot. But it went on for too long to be either a gun or thunder, and had too many sharp new sounds buried inside to be just a disturbance in the air like an echo.

They’re pink

“No, Mom, this is awesome,” I corrected her. “It’s better than awesome. It’s… There’s no word for it in your language for how awesome it is.” So I barked the word in my language, and then did a cartwheel followed by a sprint to show her what it meant.

More hotdogs in 2020

"It’s not a race.” “Are you sure it’s not a race? They’re giving out medals and stuff…” “No, it’s a challenge. There’s a difference. A race is something that you do against someone else, a challenge is when you commit to doing something difficult and compete with yourself. It’s like a competitive resolution. Challenges are different for everybody because they depend on context.” “Wait, so a challenge is a contest?”

I am the one who barks

"Take that, white dirt! You can't stop us, this gate is stopping us. Suckah!" I barked. Mom stared at the gate for a long minute, and then turned back to find a place to sleep in the empty desert. We'd figure it out in the morning.

Valley no longer on fire

But when we got there, there was no fire, only wispy clouds stuck to the mountains and blocking the sky. “Did the fire go out in the rain?” I asked. I know about science, so I know that when a fire gets wet it turns into smoke. “Ugh, the forecast said the rain was supposed to be over by now, but the storm’s been following us since California. I think it’s going to rain the whole time we’re out here.” That happens, because Mom is the Weather Jinx.

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