I drove two of my students home the other day after afterschool tutoring. One of them turns out to live all the way out almost in Arizona, which was a little farther that I had bargained for. We pulled up to see her little barefooted 3-year-old brother trying valiantly to push the baby around in a stroller that was completely stuck in the sand. My kiddo popped out of the car and went to rescue her siblings. “Bye! See you tomorrow!”
Then I took my other munchkin back to her house, which is only about 20 minutes outside of town. This is one of my least verbal, most language-impaired kids who rarely speaks in full sentences and takes a looooooooooooong time to find her words, but she was whisper-singing along with the radio in the backseat, adorable thing that she is. The dirt road to her house was treacherous because the sun was directly in my eyes and I literally could not see anything. I was terrified that I was going to run off the side of the road, but we got to her house safe and sound and waved to her cousin next door, who is on my basketball team. She grabbed her Chihuahua puppy and waved cheerfully as I drove away.
On my way out of the rez, back towards town and home, I saw a boy riding his black and white paint pony up and down the gravel piles. He was riding bareback, with this little mutt of a rez dog yapping along behind him. As I drove away from the setting sun, he stretched out his arms like a bird, guiding the pony entirely by feel as, together, they flew.
Sometimes I really love where I live.