Morning Javelina | Mark Lindsay

Right about there you'll see the javelinas," our host told us as we toured the town of Patagonia for the first time. Even in midday the small village in southeastern Arizona was pretty much empty. I figured the javelinas would be good company. I immediately made my plans to meet them.

"What time do they pass by?" I asked, leaning forward from the back seat of of the car.

"Early, about 6:00 or 7:00 AM. They cross the road right here!" Our friend traced their route with his index finger.

I made a mental note and leaned back into my seat, smiling with a Cheshire-cat grin. It was all set. I'd get up at dawn, put on some sweats, a jacket, and a ball cap and tiptoe to the town square with my camera. I'd catch the javelinas during their morning forage and make some photos. If things went well, the pigs and I might even have coffee together.

I was surprised by the cold air when I awoke. This was practically Mexico, for God's sake. Why could I see my breath? I needed an extra layer of clothing before darting out with the camera. The lens fogged up from the chill as I closed the door of our trailer and walked towards the square. The blacksmith's black cat followed my path from a nearby rooftop and hollered at me when I ignored her. "Hush!" I replied. "I'm busy...and don't scare off the javelinas." Cats have a way of distracting me when I'm busy. This time the tactic wasn't going to work.

To my disappointment, the town square was empty. There were no wild pigs to be found along the javelina path so carefully traced in my mind. The town was deserted. The cat had given up and gone back to bed. It was just my camera, my frosty breath and me. The coffee shop wasn't even open yet.

A pickup truck passed by slowly. The sun's glow slowly rose to the horizon, casting a hint of yellow onto the blue landscape. It actually seemed to be getting colder. Another truck came and went at a snail's pace. No one seemed in a rush to get anywhere around here and the javelinas certainly weren't in a hurry to meet me.

Suddenly a gray-brown streak alerted the corner of my eye. I turned and saw them. There were three javelinas running with startling grace and speed across the very spot that our friend had said they would. Since I hadn't had my coffee (the cafe was to be closed for another hour) I was slow to respond. I barely got my camera up-and-clicking by the time all three had crossed the road.

"Hah!" I whispered, thinking of wild pigs and Cheshire cats. I grinned from ear to ear. I knew I'd gotten a couple images of the beasties, who were now happily pushing up roots in a field with their flat snouts. Since the coffee shop was still closed, it was pointless to stay. I went back to the trailer, not noticing the cold at all.

The black cat saluted my return with a howl. Excited, she jumped off the roof and rolled around in the dust. Everyone seemed content with the morning as I settled into the couch to wait for the coffee shop to open.

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