Driving, east now; gliding over pavement after so many miles of second gear, 4WD. The road’s smooth, everything around it rough–busted bottles of malt liquor, dusty and tattered silk flowers on memorials innumerable, ribby dogs, feral horses, bars on windows and billboards advising to mask up and wash hands. Tripp’s out front. He flashes his hazards when he wants to talk, which is often. Blink-blink.
“Did you see that bird?” “Nope.” “Oh, I think I might’ve clipped it.”
A few miles later, blink-blink. “Was that a caracara?” That one, I did see. “Yeah! It was actually my first in Arizona!”
Down the road, a Harris’s Hawk, a Prairie Falcon, another caracara–blink-blink. I don’t have signal. Blink-blink BLINK-BLINK. Tripp throws up his hands; hopefully, he sees me do the same, for certainly he doesn’t hear me shout, “I don’t have signal!” It’s a long time till I do.
“What was that bird?” By this point there had been a lot. “A Harris’s, then a Prairie Falcon, another caracara.” “A beast of a Red-tail with lunch?” That too.
And we proceed across Arizona in this way blink-blink…blink-blink…till the red and blue lights on a cop car do some of their own blinking, and one of us is told that in Arizona, there’s no talking and driving… Hazards.