Copyright 2013 José Rodríguez
Everything is changeable, everything appears and disappears; there is no blissful peace until one passes beyond the agony of life and death.
Dry sunshine irradiates a Colorado landscape of rolling hills that run away into the distance to turn into mesas and mountains under a deep blue sky. Teman sits behind the school bus driver, Mr. Vargas, a man of big shoulders and cropped salt and pepper hair. Teman's nose is flat against the dusty glass as the bus moves through the two lane road that winds its way flanking the river. Teman has ridden this road back and forth between the school and his house many times before, but the harsh beauty of what sometimes is an utter desert and sometimes are swaths of brown and honey brush never ceases to enthrall him. The river runs strong among rocks and sandbars yet there is not a single spec of greenery around the edges where dirt meets water. The dry and cold winter has turned things into a palette of soft browns and khakis. The tall naked cottonwoods near the river look dead just like the ones by his house, but Teman knows they will reemerge into life come spring.
A big round wad of paper hits Teman on the back of the head; the wad bounces into the aisle. There are muffled laughs from the back of the bus. All things evil seem to come from the rear of the bus, Teman thinks, hell on wheels. Mr. Vargas eyebrows raise on the concave view mirror above him.