Instead of a toothless man on the bus, or a glass of Scotch knocked off the table, Death appears today as this magnificent landscape: mountains, dry arroyos, mesquite, and yucca. This is a land of knee and knucklebone, land of the empty skull . . . just what I had in mind.

The kingdom of heaven is within you:
        no gold,
        no silver,
        no turquoise above the doors of buildings,
        no cities of stone,
        just mud houses
        and the wind coming down from the mountains.

My wife looks out the car window and says, “Think of crossing this country on horseback. Can you imagine how sore your butt would be?”