Evidence of interlopers

On the tailgate of a pickup covered in the grime of four states, I pull out my boots and lace them while Tom buys green chile cheeseburgers at Blake’s Lottaburger.

It was a long drive through the night. A February snow hammered us for 300 miles from Utah until we drove out of it near Albuquerque at daybreak. The mid-day desert air is warmer than I have felt in a month, but when I pull on the boots they are still full of cold, Northern Rockies air.

There are a handful of chukar feathers stuck in the laces, a remnant of a last day Idaho hunt. I pick them off and watch them flutter across the parking lot and catch in the grass at the edge. I wonder if some other rig packed with bird dogs and desperate for a green chili fix. Will they raise an eyebrow? Will they get a chuckle? Or will they think, “go home you miserable spot stealing bastards!”

I hope it’s the latter.

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