How is it women of the village know to come? But they do, one by one, to sit with Balboa, with our memories of her childhood, moments of laughter and tears. We breathe. We are present, witness to her grief, sharing her sorrow.
On my back, I give myself a Reiki treatment. Heat flows under my hands, spreading through skin, muscles, bones, organs–warmer and warmer, now hot. If I saw my body from above, would my abdomen glow like hot coals?
Sweat trickles from the band round my brow into my ears and down my cheek. The back of my hand, as I wipe my face, smells of dirt, more sweat and the oils of well-used, well-kept tools.
Almost always there would be tracks–sometimes it would appear an entire flock of quail had circled him. Others, we would see the tracks of a coyote or wolf, and sometimes a mountain lion.
I waken gently from a dream of wildflowers blowing on the hillside. Murgatroid’s soft paw rests against my cheek. The room is dark under the new moon. Cool air lifts the gauzy curtain at the window, graceful spectre.