“Here's one of my favorite examples of contact metamorphism,” said Em.
We were on a one-day road trip to Sedona. The temperatures were getting up into the hundred-and-teens in Phoenix. You can't spend the entire summer in this town without a break, or else you end up with that zombified look in your eyes, like all those people walking their sizzling brains down the blazing sidewalks.
It's cooler up north. Red rock country is full of geological wonders for Em, and just plain anthropogenic anomalies for me. Sometimes you just have to get out and sniff the roadkill – and we running heavily into dead skunks.
Once I spilled coffee on pants, I started to relax. I thought I spotted some roadside datura, but was just a shredded plastic bag caught on a bush.
The interior of El Troque is like a space capsule – especially when Em's driving. This had me fantasizing about a customized Gemini capsule with scaled-up 1957 Cadillac Eldorado tailfins, and scaled-down Volsok booster nozzles. The nozzles would just be for looks and perhaps rigged to leave vapor trails, because it would have to be propelled by a kind of zero-point/antigravity drive. And of course it would have a flame-job in psychedelic, anti-friction paint.
Then I spotted some actual datura by the roadside. It was blooming like mad. And no authorities to control the spread of the dangerous, mind-altering plant, the way the world's largest marijuana fields were being burned in Baja.
We did some hiking past the town of Rimrock with its “RESTAURA T” near Dry Beaver Creek. There was a bee was poking her face into the datura that grew near a visitor's center – was she trying to make some special honey?
I carried and wore Em's pink backpack for her because yo soy muy macho como un torero en un traje de juz rosa.
Later a Japanese girl informed me that the Kanji on my samurai T-shirt said, “Bushido” – the Way of the Warrior.
There were plenty of clouds over Sedona, near Oak Creek. We drove through Main Street, looking at the wacky art in front of the galleries next to places where neon signs advertised psychics. We weren't really tempted to stop.
Does any body buy that art? And what do they do with after they buy it?
After more hiking under clouds, cooler air, thunder and lighting, as well as distant, blurry grey shafts of rain, we had “dunch” (Em's term) at Oaxaca Mexican Restaurant. We had Sopapillas Mexicalli on the covered patio as the storm hit. Pelting diagonal rain leaked in and blotted out the red, hoodooistic mountains. The monsoon had come.
Before heading back, we bought mochas from a barista with a trilobite tattooed on his arm.
We couldn't resist one more hike, even though it was starting to rain. Splashing red mud turned our socks pink. We were soaking wet when we headed home through downpours and lightning that made the windshield into abstract art.
Past the Mogollon Rim, as it cleared up, we rolled down the windows, and were dry by the time we approached Phoenix, where a huge dust storm was crossing the valley, blotting out the sun. This is a summer for haboobs.
By some miracle it did not rain frogs.
Another day of contact metamorphism in Arizona.