The Hundredth Meridian

The Wanderer

For three weeks the wind blew hard on the desert and the nights were very cold. The wind dropped, the days grew warmer, and the snow line retreated on the mountains. The winds came again and the red sand stiffened between the clumps of yellow grama grass before the gray clouds moved out, and then winter was over and it was starting to be spring in New Mexico. In the sand hills below the cliff front of the West Mesa at Bosque Ginny Hoyt and I sat our horses, looking across the Rio Grande valley to the manzano Mountains. The horses were sweated under their winter coats and an excess of sunscreen ran into the corners of my eyes and stung there. Ginny rode a long red horse as maneuverable as a vintage Cadillac, and I was mounted on a sturdy white Arab named The Mouse who Ginny had warned me was quick. Hunting for rabbits, the dogs knocked pebbles down from the cliffs above and a light breeze hummed in the sage and rabbitbrush. South a mile from us were the barns and corrals, and the adobe house that Ginny had built after coming west from Brooklyn two years before.

"Why would you want to live in New York City when you can be out here looking at the manzanos?" Ginny asked.

"I don't have any idea. If you do, don't tell anyone."

"Even now New Mexico has a population of 1.6 million. That's less than the population of Brooklyn."

"It's still...

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