Southern California. The Beach Boys, right? Surfing, palm trees, Hollywood. Stretch limos, everybody's twenty-three forever. There are no cemeteries because nobody dies and the moon on the Pacific is always full.
Well, not quite.
Just over the worn chain of mountains that cups Los Angles and San Diego in cool ocean air, is a desert. It has many local names, but in its entirety it is called the Sonoran. Blue McCarron lives out there, alone with her Doberman in a half-built motel at the end of a dirt road that doesn't exist. In spring hordes of coastal dwellers will cross those mountains to see the desert in bloom, the pink carpets of desert verbena, bright orange California poppies, the creamy-white flowers of the fishhook cactus. But few will see Blue McCarron. I will, though, always. I know Blue, know where to find her. Blue hangs out in Coyote Canyon a lot, and Coyote Canyon is both a real place and a wild place in every woman. It's a place to grow scars over broken dreams, a place to get tough. Without such a hidden sanctuary no woman can survive. It's okay to be who you really are out there, and to think in the way you really think. It's okay to be irrational, non-linear, intuitive. It's okay to love animals and despise cruelty, okay to play your music loud and break all the idiotic rules. It's actually okay for a woman to be smart out there. In fact, being smart is a necessity. And it's really okay to laugh.
Blue is out there in the Sonoran Desert, her shadow moving between the big rocks and murderous cholla cactus. For me she'll always be out there. I wrote her stories for the others who can see her, too.