If anything, he's gone into overdrive. The cairns are weirdly everywhere these days--some along the trail, others tucked away in unexpected places, many so stirring in their simplicity of space and balance they compel me to stop and let my brain have a moment.
One of the greatest mysteries is how they continue to change. An absolutely breathtaking monument will appear out of nowhere, only to vanish the next time I return.
A friend who runs out there suggested this may be due to environmentally conscious hikers who have an agenda to maintain the trail in its natural state...something I also endorse...but to intefere with these creations seems like an offense in its own right.
At any rate, the glory of autumn is upon us and this is the one place, in all of Nevada, where you may bask in its splendor.
Believe me, I do.
Today I came across this fine fellow, and by came across I mean: was two seconds from squashing him when I realized the error of my ways and attempted, mid-air, to re-negotiate my step, all the while having a complete nervous breakdown.
"Oh, hello," I said, acting like I hadn't just broken a year's supply of emergency swear vials.
"How YOU doin'?," he replied, betraying that lack of refinement so common amongst desert dwellers.
"Fine, thank you," I said primly, ever on guard against the charms of an all too familiar arachnid.
"Do you believe in love?," he asked, by the bye.
"Sir, I would ask you to remember yourself!," I sputtered, mentally berating myself for being out in the middle of nowhere without my governness.
"You know the old saying: amor vincit omnia," he continued, struggling to move a stone into place.
"Not everyone believes that nowadays," I said stiffly, thinking of my empty Nutella jar and how it swept me off my feet with a slew of broken promises.
"Love is such," he replied, selecting another rock after careful consideration, "that it's worth any effort."
I stared at the fellow, wanting to say something clever like: who gives a hoot?, but couldn't bring myself to do it. There was something about him upon closer perusal, something about his whiskered ways which made me feel perhaps I had crossed paths with an ancient luminary, an oracle from the dawn of time.