Surviving the Desert
Back when, in Litchfield Park, we’d ride our bike all through the desert now converted into clusters of cookie-cutter houses and track malls and suburban parking lots. I lived by the cotton fields to the east of the walled-in square mile (well, not quite perfectly square) town. Litchfield Park would not be big enough to be a city until just before middle school. In these fields we’d be the Cajun Express– primarily because of Gambit in X Men as I recall – and we’d ride around slinging this ball on rope around destroying even the idea of bad men as we went. Ed lived right at the town’s western wall, and beyond that the golf fields and another walled attempt at the serenity of the Park – only for the rich – Litchfield Greens soon popped up. Here we’d sneak past the walls (this development was gated) and explore hollow structures destined to sell for half a million or more. The northern fields were insignificant, but the southern field I shall never forget. One day I was riding alone and happened upon the underground cement bunkers. This was nothing special, we’d played with black magic many a day before, but today as I sat to rest awhile and saw myself a slithering snake. I’d never been so close to one before, but knowing the Sonoran Desert to inhabit many varieties, I wasn’t afraid. Neither was the snake, it seemed, just slithering along. I decided, without a thought, I wanted to pet it. So, I reached down and touched the poor thing. Of course it sprang at my hand. I reeled back and screamed. It missed me and I ran off as soon as I saw the rattle and diamonds on its back. If this highly venomous snake had bit me, and I couldn’t ride out, I would have died in the desert under that hot Sonoran sun.