As they watched, a wild turkey hen stepped onto the frozen riverbed. She walked carefully up the ice-covered stream, stopping occasionally to peck at a fallen leaf or twig.

Finally, she disappeared into the coyote willow at the river’s edge. Carla let out a long breath and sat back against the Model T’s battered seat. She put her bare hands to her neck to warm them, and looked at her mother. “We’re really lucky,” she said.

“Why do you say that?” Eileen poured thin tea from the thermos into their single mug. She held it for a moment, warming her hands, then handed it to Carla.

“We see wild turkeys on a frozen river in January.” Carla sipped the tea carefully. “Not many people have that.”

Eileen looked out the cracked windshield, up at the bare cottonwoods etched against clear turquoise sky. “Not many do,” she agreed. “Not many do.”

from Moreno Valley Sketches II