STORY 4, Part 9

And the swirling patterns, the rich thingness of my wall, glittering in the sun, looked like the mythic ramparts of the buried Cities of Cibola. I came to the Cholcoate Mountains whenever I could.

Weeks passed this way. The heat didn't stop the work, although the wind sometimes did. One day I killed a rattlesnake with the shovel and went back to work. I still had one room full of objects left to paste up.  The empty canvas, however, was shrinking. I needed more wall space.

Walker Hadley would stop by every time I was there.

He'd check the well, admire the growing assemblage. He'd said no more about the pool, even when the temp was pushing 110 degrees. But he gauged the remaining length of empty wall. One day, when I only had a few feet left, and was gluing down my old sea shell collection, he said:

"So what are you doing with this thingy here?"

"I don't know. It just feels good." I confessed.

"But you like your waitress job?"

"Not at all, I'd rather be out here any time."

It was true. L.A. seemed like an aberration now. I couldn't imagine what all those people did in the smog and jumble and traffic. When I wasn't in the Chocolate Mountains, I dreamed the deep blue dome, the moon, the velvet peaks, the expanding tapestry.

"In fact, I'd like a big wall, winding across to the hills," I said.   "I'd like towers, like Simon Rodia in Watts, like Scotty's Castle in Death Valley. I'd like a pyramid of all the cast-off memories made into art. That's what."

He stretched up tall. His eyes showed no surprise.

"Sure. You just do that."