We escaped with our lives and our packed bags in tow, and headed north away from the deadly heat of Phoenix, just as the humidity climbed to a higher level and induced sweat that soaked through to my second shirt, and even on my tie, I think. An American bulldog in the back, two friends in a car ahead five minutes and three friends in a car behind four hours, my friend and I spoke of the things of life as the Valley settled comfortably into the horizon of the rearview mirror. Cactus gave way to overgrown dried grass and trees engulfed by flames ten years ago now, and life turned green as our wheels hugged the curves and the mountain tops became engrossed by clouds.

We spoke of things not yet seen and Israel Be Strong as The Decembrist accompanied us on the drive.

We arrived and arranged the Payson cabin to the likings of youth such as us, and spent half an hour chasing a gray field mouse through the stone floors and wooden walls. With the sharp breeze of the cold night air we sat on the patio and ate our meals together, and caught up on friendships and plans and travels and loves. We lit our cloves and inhaled the warm smoke deeply and blew it out towards the pine trees that towered over us and waited on the coming rain.

The day following we sat and we hiked, and climbed rocks and looked out on vistas as the place we were seemed so foreign to the place we came from briefly a day ago. We took photographs and wrote, writing down and arranging words and phrases for the world to soon behold and gaze upon, as the people exclaim their wonderment for us as they discover what they should not even reach for; simply because we are the best at what we do. We stood still and watched an elk walk slowly towards us, close enough to be caught in the crossfire of a spit wad war; I’ll be the north and you be the south and the innocent animal will be our citizens.

We spoke of things not yet seen and Israel Be Strong as The Format accompanied us on the drive.

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