The year was 2001 and I was a cocky asshole of a man. My girlfriend and I somehow conned her parents into lending their minivan to the enterprise and we lit-out for the western territories. I’d received an acceptance letter from the University of Arizona and I was ready to get the hell out of Kansas. Little did I know that attending the UofA would mean just about nothing, other than a pile of debt with a degree worth less than the scrap of parchment it was printed on.
But that’s a whole other story.
An 18-year-old version of me screamed down the highway in a soccer-mom van with a young slab of beautiful woman-flesh – and that’s all that mattered. We camped along the high desert, free spirits, and I will never forget the experience. Trading sex in a two-door coup for sex in a bulky 1970s-style canvas tent is probably one of the more sublime experiences this young man could have ever hoped for at the time.
We drove through Tucson and struck camp at Mount Lemon and surveyed the landscapes along the painted desert of Northern Arizona. It was the first time in my life I felt truly unfettered, rising in the morning to the sound of rushing creek water and a lovely ivory face beside me, cloaked in locks of streaming brown hair, lips upturned in a sly satisfied smile.
No drug can ever replace the experience of being eighteen years old and in love. Today’s photograph is a reminder of that innocent time; my woman by my side, unaware of the struggles ahead, I dialed the numbers in and pushed a button along the rim of the great meteor crater. This picture represents everything I held important from those lofty teenage years.
It was a good time, in tall grass and open sky. And I will take that pleasure with me into the earth.
When the time comes.