The dry bag sits on the kitchen counter and I’m arranging ham slices on the sandwiches. Anticipation bubbles through me. I haven’t been on a river trip in ages and I’m popping with excitement.
It’s only a one day trip down the Cache La Poudre here in Colorado, but it’s a stolen day, precious in its unexpected rarity. I probably shouldn’t go. There’s so much to do at Loving Earth Trust and I can’t afford to drop any of the chainsaws I’ve been juggling since I took over the executive director position last fall.
Top on the priority list is the film project in Moab, UT. When Lisa, my closest friend since our undergrad days at CU in Boulder, came to me with the idea to create a feature film aimed at convincing Congress to expand the boundaries of Canyonlands National Park in southern Utah, I hesitated.
Loving Earth Trust works hard to save and restore wilderness but a film seemed out of our expertise. Still, Canyonlands is threatened by mining interests, overly-enthusiastic recreationists, and even the local ranchers who could potentially over-graze delicate land. And as the new executive director, a project of this scope, if successful, would look good on my budding career.
So I found the funds and my passionate, impulsive, whirly-gig of a best friend tore into the film making business. Lisa wants me to have the full impact of the film so she hasn’t shown me much of it. That makes me nervous. She’s way over-budget and the deadline is looming, and the last Skype conversation I had with her, she seemed overly edgy.
I nestle two apples into the dry bag and struggle with second thoughts. I shouldn’t go on the river today. “What if Lisa needs something?” I’m addressing Abby, my aging retriever. He opens his eyes from his nap under the bushy corn plants I have in pots all over my apartment, but he doesn’t answer. He’s good at keeping his own council. “At this point, a day’s delay could make or break us.”
I debate cancelling the river trip and my eyes wander over the corn plants. My Hopi cousin instructed me to plant them to help heal the world. It may sound crazy, but I decided it couldn’t hurt. Besides, Abby and I like growing things inside with us. This whole Hopi connection is weird but I’m going with it. Learning the customs and history of Hopi has been interesting. But I feel a kind of niggling worry when I stop to consider the corn.
I haven’t seen the kachina since the terrible time on the mountain last fall. I should be glad. No one needs a mythical spirit popping in on them, and I was never happy when he showed up. This sad feeling of abandonment is silly. For the first time in a long time my life is right on track. I have a great job doing work that makes a difference. And there’s Cole.
He came into my life at the worst possible time. He stood by me while I grieved my dead, cheating husband, protected me even when I pushed him away. He’s shown me the steady, unconditional love I never knew existed.
This day is important to Cole. I’ve been so busy lately and he’s been patient. Even if I have thirty reasons I shouldn’t take a day off from Loving Earth Trust, I owe Cole one day of fun, at least.
I glance over my shoulder to make sure Cole is busy packing the splash jackets before I tuck my phone into the dry bag. It’s my workaholic tendency but there’s no harm, really. We probably won’t have a signal on the river. Everyone at the Trust can manage without me one day. Even Lisa is capable enough to solve today’s problems. Right?
Besides, what could possibly go wrong?
You can read more about Nora’s latest adventures in Tattered Legacy, the third book in the “Nora Abbott” mystery series, published by Midnight Ink.
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About the author
Shannon Baker is the author of the Nora Abbott mystery series from Midnight Ink. A fast-paced mix of Hopi Indian mysticism, environmental issues, and murder. Shannon is an itinerant writer, which is a nice way of saying she’s confused. She never knows what time zone she’s in, Timbuck-Three, Nebraska, or Denver, or Tucson. Nora Abbott has picked up that location schizophrenia and travels from Flagstaff in Tainted Mountain, to Boulder in Broken Trust and then to Moab in Tattered Legacy. Shannon is proud to have been chosen Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers’ 2014 Writer of the Year. Visit Shannon at www.Shannon-Baker.com.
While Tattered Legacy is available from your favorite online or bookstore, if you’d like to support indie bookstores, you’re welcome to contact Who Else Books at www.BroadwayBookMall.com. Ron and Nina are the best! And they might have a signed copy to send.