At Trona Pinnacles a bird approaches me to clean her beak on my boot while I stand there chatting. She wipes her face this and that way like you see others do on branches and for once I am the smoothest object around. Two days earlier I sat next to the mailbox in front of a Sinclair gas station in Alamo, NV to call home. I looked at the ornamental brontosaurus wearing a scary bunny mask in the parking lot. I looked at a large white capital P on the rise of a flat-topped hill straight ahead across the road and a ways up. Fires burned north of San Francisco and Peter told me he was having trouble breathing. I thought about Peter breathing on and off for the next two days without reception. "If fossil fuels are dead dinosaurs, why don't we just make more dinosaurs?" That might do it.
We leave our campsite and drive to town for Gem-O-Rama. After getting oriented I walk from the Mineral Society show building to the Trona Branch Library to use their communal wifi. I text Peter hi and he replies hi, so he is still breathing and I try not to make a big deal of it. I text that I have been a useful part of the landscape and that I have met my internet friend who is a children's librarian in Los Angeles. I sit in the air conditioning for an hour, the air outside feeling very hot and possibly thicker than normal adjacent to the lakes of curing industrial salt. I can't say I know this place at all but I listen to the reference librarian help a woman get an affordable mobile phone plan. It's not like you can walk into a gas station and ask for help, I would know.