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White dirt, schmite dirt

Just at that moment, a man-Oscar in running clothes with hiking chopsticks came bounding up the trail behind us, running with the same rockethorse enthusiasm as me. He had the kind of shapely butt that tights were invented for, and made a mountain man beard look tidy just by opening his toothpaste-ad smile in the middle of it.

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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.

Slumberjack

Concentrating is like an adventure where nothing happens, and the more you do of it the more you want to tell someone about it and the less there is to tell. I guess that’s the difference between an adventure and what Mom calls a "pain in the ass.”

But officer…

I was sniffing for critters in the white bushes when I heard Mom whisper-scream, “OH MY GOD!” and then burst out laughing. When I found her, she was laughing at a man who was dressed like a bush and standing still as a statue. He was carrying a lot of luggage with him, including one of the long sticks called a "gun."

House of fire and ice

I had never understood why humans collect things just for looking at, but as I looked at the tiny home wearing a hat of rampaging flame, I thought I understood how a building tells the story of the person inside. It’s a little bit like how the desert and mountains tell their story through cliffs, canyons, rocks and rivers both by what is missing and what is left behind.

The Weather Jinx brings a white Christmas

The only way forward was to push through the branches like abominable snowmen. I let Mom go first because when she crashes through the brush, she knocks all the white dirt off the branches and carries it away in her collar, waistband and inside the packpack.

Delicacy

I'm a barefoot runner," I explained. "You should try it. Although sometimes I have to wear hats, and you shouldn't try that if you can avoid it." "Oh no!" she said. "Would you like me to call Sarah McLaughlan for you? She can help, I saw a special all about it on TV."

Foiled me once…

Most people don't know this, but deer are actually very large birds related to chickens and turkeys. Poultry like deer can't fly very far, but they can fly over bushes without breaking stride.

The Icy Era

The white dirt wasn't everywhere, though. In the sunny patches, the rocks made a messy set of stairs that wagged up the mountain. Above our heads the pointy crown of the mountain stuck straight up toward the sky and all around it in a giant skirt was the biggest pile of loose rocks you can possibly imagine.

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