Beginning October 21, this blog, Rain Trueax's Rainy Day Thoughts, will have a co-author-- painter and long-time friend, Diane Widler Wenzel. We have been sharing, encouraging, and discussing life for over 50 years. We don't always agree... I think this will be fun trip for us both. New posts will be on Saturdays and otherwise randomly as something of interest happens.

Monday, September 30, 2013

political thinking-- end of September

Because it seemed easier to make a video than write out my angst regarding the political situation right now in the US, here it is for those who care
Political thinking the end of September 2013 from Rain Trueax on Vimeo.

Update: Now that the closure has happened, it's obvious that a certain segment wanted it. They have insurance. They have money and they resent programs for anybody who needs help and that has always included SS. They just don't dare admit it. I heard a clip from a speech by someone running on doing exactly this and knew it'd be unpopular with the majority of Americans but  they only answer to the vocal minority and the real money behind this movement. We know the name of the Koch brothers who started the Cato Institute and Freedom Works, who make sure Limbaugh doesn't have to worry about sponsors, but it's not really just them. There are other names and maybe even a Machiavellian mind behind what is happening.

Boehner has no choice but to do what he did. He will lose anyway because cowards always do; but he couldn't let there be an up and down vote in the House as they would have passed a clean budget. He'd have lost the Speakership that he's literally done nothing to deserve as he's done nothing the whole time he's had it. They don't have an agenda other than destruction.

So the right wing got what I heard that leader say they wanted-- shut down government. They are giddy over it. I've seen the left giddy too-- when they got health care insurance for all Americans. They were giddy over doing something for the people. All the right is giddy about is power. Power has a way though of backfiring.

My hope is Americans are paying attention. That they don't let the talking point people convince them that this was brought on by Obama and Dems. It wasn't. It was brought on by those who wanted to destroy programs and that's what they have convinced a lot of their people will make their own lives better. Who cares about the poor, disabled, old? That's their problem.

If Americans pay attention, the next federal election in 2014 can turn the House back to the Democrats and give us a chance for something to happen that helps people. You can bet the righties will be out in force and they have already set in place everything they can to block Democratic voters from getting to the polls. It doesn't have to work if we get together on this.

For those who don't like SS, Medicare and programs for the poor, as you are convinced it's all about communism, I think the day will come when you'll figure it out. I just hope it's not too late as Ted Cruz is no leader of the sort we've had before. He's a demagogue and everything he says the other side wants to do-- that's what those behind him want. Good luck if that happens as piece by piece they are dismantling our individual power by things like letting a corporation be considered a person and by undoing Civil Rights laws which certain people in some states are quickly taking advantage of to block minority voters.

This situation isn't hopeless for progressives, liberals and moderates like myself. It's just a time to buckle down, get our act together with helping those around us who might need help and then working to get out the vote in 2014. There is a lot more here at stake than a Yellowstone vacation-- which just went bust ;).

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Life blood

Finally I've begun writing my fourth Oregon historical although there will be more research to enrich the details. Every time I start a new book I feel the excitement of a new adventure about to begin-- vicariously, of course. For me, writing is fun-- marketing,  not so much. One gives life blood. The other sucks it out. They both are part of the process.

What I plan regarding indie publishing those four historicals, which encompass the years 1852 to 1867 or '68 (depending on how the fourth goes) will depend a lot on how the two Arizona historical books do-- because if my books are going to disappear into Amazon's black hole, why bother putting them out that way? I don't want to submit them to a publishing house. I like the control of indie publishing, lower prices for readers, but maybe I'll have to rethink that. I'll know better by January.

Marketing is really a lot of this game and marketing is where most writers are weakest-- not to mention where they don't have gifts. What they need is someone with marketing skills to promote their work-- unfortunately that costs a lot of money or requires going through a corporation; so indie writers, like myself, are learning as we go with things like Twitter (which I am still not sure of its value but I am growing it too).


So despite my really wanting to only think about the new book, the new characters, the new events, I just have to give Arizona Sunset another push to be sure that any possible reader has had a chance to see this book while it's still $3.99. October 1st or as close to that as Amazon can do it, it'll be $4.99. Always when buying a book at Amazon be sure the price you see is the price you want.

Arizona Sunset has gotten some nice reviews which if you are a writer or creative person, you know that means a lot. One that I especially liked didn't get onto Amazon but was on my Facebook Rain Trueax page and from a man.

"Just finished this book last evening. Enjoyed from cover to cover."

I've gotten a few of those reviews on other books from men, and I always smile when I see one. Why would I like a review from a man so much? Well because it's always assumed that men won't read romances. Since I consider my books hybrids, I see them as appealing to people who like good stories, with some action, and in the case of the historicals, a piece of what life was like in the past. I write about strong, powerful male characters so why wouldn't men like that. I don't use those catch phrases that have gotten so much humor for romance books. I won't mention the words here but you've probably heard the jokes and know them. Yes, I use emotional words when needed. So men don't feel emotions? You know they do; so long as the words aren't silly, I think men should like my adventure romances as much as any woman.

That said, this book got two other reviews that meant a lot to me.
 "I love a love story like Trueax's about finding freedom to engage in healthy pleasures. Pleasures forbidden were many for a stifled proper lady, Abigail, in Arizona territory 1883. Even more stifled, Sam, believed he was shackled for life as an outlaw gun man not worthy of a lady. I took pleasure to see the changes in these two. During my first reading, I skipped the sexual parts but by the second time around I could enjoy them because of how healthy sex was in gluing their unlikely relationship which allowed them to live to their fullest."

"I loved the interaction between Sam and Abigail. Sam felt he was nowhere near the type of man she deserved but Abigail saw past his faults and knew he was the one she wanted for life. This is a story of redemption, second chances, belief and true love.A beautiful story that will capture you from the beginning and not let go until the end"
To me, Arizona Sunset is the story of a woman who is trapped by her life, who meets a man traveling a road of destruction. Together they might create something new, but the road ahead is rocky as they must fight for the life they want across the dangerous and beautiful terrain of Southern Arizona. Often what we think we want has some catches attached, and it's what this hero and heroine come up against. Expectations lead to both having to do some rethinking on what they want. A snippet:

      Then she heard the loud voices from around the shed. "Boss, there's dust in the air. Buck says a bunch of riders coming this way."
     He cursed. "How far off?"
     "Maybe seven miles northwest. Buck saw 'em looking for sign, but it won't take them long to find ours if we’re what they’re looking for."
     "All right." He looked down at her with regret in his eyes.  “Well, lady, looks like this is it.”
     “Leave us here. We can ask those men to help us get to Tucson.”
     His smile was cynical. “You think you’d be safer with them?”
     “I don’t know who they are. Do you?”
     “There is no posse coming after you, is there?”
     She shook her head. “No.” Her father wouldn’t miss her until the morning, if then depending on what Priscilla told him.
     “Then out here no big bunch of riders is safe for us or you.”
     “What are you going to do with us?”
     A heavy-set man came around the cabin; he looked at Abigail then the man he called boss. "Shall I kill these two?" he asked. “They seen us here-- too near that dead man.”
     The tall man looked down at her, and Abigail realized how easy it would be for him to order their deaths. No one would know.
     Without looking at the big man who'd just offered to commit murder, the man she now knew was Sam said, "Get ready to ride. I'll meet you out front."
     "What about the mail bags?" she asked, hoping she could deflect his plans away from murder.
     "That what your friend had buried there?" he asked.
     She nodded. "We offered a reward for them. I know you didn't steal them." She knew no such thing, but she decided she had to play a game here, a game for hers and Martin's lives. "You could have the reward if you restore them... To this point, you've done nothing wrong."
     "You are green to the way of things."
     She tried again. "We won’t say anything about having seen you." He appeared undecided. She sucked in a breath. “Take us with you then.”
     "Oh that’d be smart.” He chuckled.





So onward and upward as I begin to flesh out the Oregon story with a new hero and heroine who are interesting me a lot. I began putting together some images today from scenery and characters. The story is set in John Day country where I hope to spend some time again soon.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

the inspiration

When someone asks me-- why do you write romances? why don't you write something that goes deeper into the problems of life (hey a few of mine do also deal with problems) -- this video says a lot of what I feel is the joy of writing books about romance.

So, give it a try. It's a beautiful video, a pretty song, and if you look closely, says a lot about the long term where it comes to love. A romance is the beginning but the long term is what it is building. Even better this is a real life couple-- Jason Derulo and Jordan Sparks. Can I have an Amen!


Saturday, September 21, 2013

being heliotropic


no matter what situation we find ourselves in,
we can always set our compass to our highest intentions
in the present moment.
Jack Kornfield




Yes, I love sunflowers! There can never be too many sunflowers with their heliotropic qualities. And this year I have a veritable feast of them, some over ten feet tall. Me, the birds, and insects are happy.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Let them eat cake!



If you are an American and somehow think it's okay to gut food stamps as the majority of the Republican House just voted to do, you really ought to get more informed on who receives such aid and why they need it. 


The argument the House rightie leaders had was most Americans want to work not accept help. Wow, what geniuses. Seriously they said that. So what are their programs to get more jobs? Nada. Absolutely no programs. The only thing I hear from them is something geared to give more profit and less taxes for the richest Americans.If anybody ever thought that would help, the years since Reagan have proven the lie of it.


It's hard to comprehend their rhetoric or to understand how people like this keep getting elected by Americans in any state. Yes, there has been fraud in food stamps but it's not by the poorest. It's by the richer element who have found a way to bilk the system like the grocery store owner recently charged. This is the kind of person who doesn't mind stealing from the poor to enrich their own coffers-- which is what they are doing by such cheating. It's not the norm and besides if it was, fix that, don't punish the children in poor families, who get most of the aid.

The truth of low incomes and why people end up needing something like food stamps is hardly anything a rightie cares about. The fact that the wealthiest Americans keep getting richer while the middle stays where it was and the poor get poorer, none of that matters to the kind of people who pay no attention to facts but want to justify their own greed. Those House Representatives know which side their bread (of which they have plenty) is buttered on. The irony is many who vote for this kind of leader are often poor themselves but they have been duped into voting against their own best interests by clever ads and people like the Koch brothers for whom there will never be enough money.



The solution by the right to inequality? They just voted on it-- take away more from the poor. It is enough to make any caring person cry.

Frankly, I don't know who Americans are; but if 2014 doesn't see the type of elected officials who did this get thrown out of office, if they continue to vote for leaders who are only there to help the rich, I can tell you one thing they are not-- Christians in words or action.

"For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me..."  Matthew 25:35

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

what does the fox say?

After a summer of the foxes, I came across this on Facebook and loved it. Come on, we all need something to make us feel good. Check it out.



Actually we do know what the fox says:


Saturday, September 14, 2013

Creativity


It's funny how one generation thinks the ones coming up are so terrible-- but their own generation, now that was totally cool. So when I came across this link, it brought forth all kinds of thoughts. Yes, I am paying attention to what the current generation is hearing and who they admire. Hey, I got grandkids!


Listen to that first song if nothing else as you read the article because it's about innovation. It's about taking something and putting something new with it to make it your own.

My mom was a musician in the 30s. She traveled a lot with all girl bands where Mama played bass (sang it too in the trio) was a fact. She learned a lot in the world of musicians that she passed onto me. Many things, like gays, discrimination, abortion, I heard about in my own home in the years when that was not exactly the norm. Mom also used to talk about the silly songs of her day; so it's not like silly songs are unique to today. I have a blog coming up with the foxes song which I love. Silly though? You bet! Who cares?

The problem with being different, creative or first to do something is it becomes horrid to the ones who came before and went through a different kind of different.  Now I have to admit that when I see Miley Cyrus doing her act, I also am a little-- oh my gawd (actually I don't say that but it's what I am feeling). I am asking is this girl in control of herself? Is she being exploited? Will she make it through these years better than many who have publicly gone before her? And role model for younger girls? Nope.

Why does Miley Cyrus matter? Well it would to you if you had a 15 year old granddaughter (who used to admire Cyrus when she was Hannah Montana), a girl dear to my heart, part of my heart, who is about to navigate the same waters. Yep, you'd be caring then.

So I saw the latest Cyrus video which has been so sensationalized by the media with single shots of her nude body. I heard the song before I saw the video and frankly as with We can't stop, it's a good song-- Wrecking Ball. She didn't write it but she sure put her stamp on it.

I won't put a link to the video here because some would find what I see as artistic as instead horrifying. We live in a culture where any nudity is regarded as porn. If you want to see it and haven't, skip the single images and do a Google search and choose the link on Vevo. Personally I think it's a pretty good account of how we can go wrong in a relationship-- not to mention catchy melody. I know. I know. I'm supposed to be horrified. The polls are full of how Americans view her now and it's not flattering! Do I see it differently because I am a creative person? Maybe.

The thing is when kids grow up, they will try to find a new way. That's the way it's always been. If you raised your kids and they never rebelled, they either haven't done it yet (and are saving it up for a mid-life crises) or you never knew when they did it. My daughter has said the goal is to find a way to let them rebel that doesn't hurt them badly. So you have to leave some room for that to happen-- which means parents have to disapprove and wag their fingers at something or how the heck does a kid rebel?

Where it comes to creativity the rebellion can come through music or doing something like no punctuation in writing. To me that was not good in the books that did it, but it's one way. It can come through rejecting all the values of those who came before or finding instead what you like and putting your own twist to it. You could say 1984 is a book about rebellion by illustrating what the author thought about his culture and what was coming.

At any age, we are going to be rebelling if we are creating-- even if it's only against what we did last time. Gotta find new ways. That's the nature of creativity-- otherwise, it's craft. Creativity is, like discovery, a kind of violent process.

I feel for these kids who grew up as Cyrus did in the eye of the public, stars before they know what that means. It takes a lot for them to navigate that. A few do it well but they usually weren't huge phenomena before they understood what that really meant-- as in flavor of the month.

If they make it past it, it's because they found some core values within themselves-- values they can live with and that protect them. It's what my granddaughter has to do. What I had to do. What we all have to do. Hopefully we find values that are real to us, not just taken from someone else. I think this is true in creative rebellion. It has to have some core values or it's gibberish. The songs Cyrus has chosen to put on her album (so far) are not gibberish. They are speaking to what's going on. Her method of selling them seems sad and more a statement on our culture than of a girl trying to find her way through it.

And some of her music like We Can't Stop is informative if nothing else. I didn't even know what molly was until I heard it discussed in connection to that song. Chuck Barry though sang similarly back in my youth and many of us had no idea what he was singing about-- well some knew.

Where it comes to the drug ecstasy, because of the song I not only know what it is, had a discussion with my son about what it was to his generation (he's in his 40s), but also know the warnings regarding its safer use-- which adults around teens better make sure they are telling them because if you can stop their drug use, great, good for you. I am no fan of using hallucinogenics to create-- but like with sex, if you can't, then teach them to be responsible!

It's funny as each young generation thinks the older ones don't understand. Don't get it. I've been told Cyrus' music is not meant for someone in any older generation to get. Well if we already went through those years, we might 'get' it more than they think! And as for Wrecking Ball-- if we have ever loved that way, we will still 'get it' and can relate to both the frustration and those tears.

I don't know how creative Miley Cyrus really is. How much of what she does is being directed by someone else? Does she write any of her music although it takes a level of creativity to interpret music even by someone else (unless that is also being done for her). If she was writing her own music, I think it would help her future. But the bigger question is what is she creating with her life right now-- that is so critical to a young person as they become their own person-- or not.

Of all the things we will create-- for any of us artist or not-- the most important is our own life. We should be the ultimate creators of it-- the question is what are we making of it. Rebelling for the sake of rebelling gets us nowhere. Building that life is the most important thing we will teach to the generations coming after us, and that we are creating our own lives is still true at 70-- if ya didn't know it!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

love of a land

There are writers who set their books in imaginary settings or places they've never been. But I like to write about those places I've spent considerable time.

Ironically I've only actually written three books set in Arizona despite my many weeks and months spent there since 1965 when I first lived in Tucson. It has an interesting history, and its beauty is throughout the state which explains the many movies filmed there.

Rather than try to explain what seems beyond explaining to me, I thought I'd share a few of the photos that illustrate a bit of why I love that beautiful, sometimes mystical land so much. These are all from southern Arizona which is where my books are set. I won't be there at all this year-- except in my memories and through my books.




If I haven't already convinced you of the wonders of Southern Arizona, take a peek at the video I created last year. I am feeling a real yen to be there at least in spirit...


Saturday, September 07, 2013

support indie arts-- much


To be fair, I cannot place myself in a category of great literary writers. I don't even want to be. I want to write what is in me to write. I want to do it as good as it's possible for me to do. I want my stories to have a value beyond a good read for what they teach about life; but in the essence, I'm not interested in writing War and Peace. So, I can't claim when my books get ignored that someone is suppressing great art.

But what I am thinking about now is how little the culture in which I live (and maybe any human culture) really supports creative work of any indie sort unless its free or appears to be the kind to make a lot of money. Most literary type readers (and there are exceptions) read what the NY Times (or other newspaper reviewers) says is great literature or what their book group ordered. That's what they will buy (or be given if it's a book group that is funded). Exploring other types of books-- not so much.

When the Shades of Grey books caught on and became a phenomena, they were put down as mommy porn even though they sold millions and will lead to a movie. Now I cannot claim to know how good they were as I haven't read them-- even though I did buy them to see what the brouhaha was about. One of these days I'll sit down and actually read one. They began though as indi and went mainstream and corporate when money was apparently being made by them. Story of this whole issue.

Where it comes to musicians, those who write their own music, how much support do they get from anybody? I just read a blog where the musician, who is good-- I've heard him-- is [giving up on doing it as a profession]. People want it for free; so they go to a lounge, sit there, order some wine or beer, enjoy the show, but paying for it? Not so much. They will pay a fortune to go to see a big name act at a stadium because somebody promoted that and then it has value-- guy down at the corner bar, not so much.

And it's not different with painters or sculptors. Millions go out to buy a Van Gogh because he's a big name investment. When he was alive how much could he make? He got supported by his brother as best I remember it.

I have a good friend, Diane Widler Wenzel, who is a gifted painter. Her work is as good as anybody out there painting in her style; but she hasn't played the networking game and hence her work is not valued as highly as those who have. To stay true to her muse, her own artistic voice, she now mostly puts it places (libraries, care facilities, stores) it can be seen for free.


Before I put out my first book or my last one, I wondered how well they'd be supported by the reading public. What I found is-- give it for free and thousands grab them. Buy them? Only a few have gone that far to support my writing. And I do appreciate all those who have. It has meant more to me than they'll ever know.

The problem is what we get for free, we don't appreciate so much and hence I won't do free ever again (except to get professional reviews or for friends). For awhile though it made me feel good to see so many thousands of my books go out until I realized most probably never even got read... What we buy, we value. So where are we valuing?

Maybe I am sounding a little depressed here but that's because I am. I wonder if other cultures encourage the arts or is it just us who do not. I would understand it if we were a starving people. Arts are not what you can put on your plate and eat. If you are living in Syria, you are worried about bombs dropping, not artistic support. That's not us in the US though-- other than worrying what our government is potentially lying us into.

Even more upsetting to me than adult artists not finding a living at it is what is happening in a lot of our schools where art and music have often been taken out unless totally supported by the parents-- which takes it away from those families living on minimum wage. Football-- no problem to fund. Excuse me but what's the deal? Art is for the spirit and football for the body?

What are our values as a nation?





 And in keeping with the spirit of this piece, supporting indie artists, here is the link to a gifted photographer who has put out a [calendar for 2014]. Give it a look.


Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Desert Inferno and yet another edit

Edit, edit and edit again and even then things get by without being seen. Because I plan to bring Desert Inferno out as the next paperback through CreateSpace, I did edit again after all those other edits.

What's that? How could it be??? I found goofs. I considered giving up writing about the time I came on the fourth inconsistency (more were waiting). My writing does not support professional editors; and if you get someone who is not, they might screw your book up worse than you did because they don't understand where it's going or why the dialogue was as it was. So I do it-- with help from some reading friends. I miss things. They evidently do. Some readers won't.

I chose this book to go next because it's the contemporary story of the ranch that is established in Tucson Moon (book comes out in late November) where the marshal in Arizona Sunset will be the hero.

Desert Inferno carries on the story of the O'Brian family and was actually the first book I put out as an eBook in December 2011. How it still had errors, I do not know :( but it's in shape now. (Incidentally if you bought it earlier or have one of the thousands of free copies floating around, you can go to your Kindle Manager and get the latest edit. The characters didn't change. It was just silly juxtapositions of events mostly). 

Below is it's opening scene. It actually had no errors leaving me to think it'd be an easy edit... Not so much.

future back cover for the paperback
 


The brush, rich with vermillion oil paint daubed across one edge of the Payne's grey rock. Well that didn’t work. Rachel O’Brian scraped the garish color away. Critically, she stepped back to survey the large canvas propped against the rear of her pick-up truck.  The lower swoop of shadow across the desert with sunlight glittering on the hills projected the feeling she had hoped to convey of depth and distance, but...
Her gaze kept returning to the lower right corner. There was something missing, a quality of deadness that ended the canvas at a bad point, drawing the eye away from the cacti and yucca, her intended center of interest. Was the problem a fatal one or had she lost perspective?
Absentmindedly, she used her wrist to push a long strand of hair behind her ear. She looked from the canvas to the landscape. To her eye, what might have seemed barren to another was lush with yucca, rocks, cactus and mesquite. Across the border into Mexico were the rugged, pale purple, Parajito Mountains muted by dust in the air.
"Shoot," she grumbled, "doesn’t one ever just work out?" Her fingers nearly itched to take hold of the palette knife and peel off layers of paint beginning again from a raw surface. A more perverse satisfaction would come from taking the knife from her belt and ripping the canvas to shreds. Of course, it would do nothing to save the painting.
She reminded herself that sometimes what at first seemed disastrous in a painting had a way of becoming its best point. She wiped her paint smeared fingers with a rag. ‘Give it time. Patience, Rachel. Remember. Patience.’ From the time she'd been small her father vainly attempted to explain how it was better to wait for things, they would be sweeter when they finally arrived. She had never become convinced.
Her paintings all happened in a white, hot heat. She layered on color, shaped the landscape to suit her inner vision-- a feeling she only rarely perfectly captured. If she didn't work quickly, impatiently, the fleeting feeling might be taken away, the impulse of inspiration disappearing in a myriad of details. Through university training, private art lessons, she had learned a degree of patience with her work, learned to temper the heat, to bring the work back to her studio where she would struggle through the composition, and finally put a signature at the bottom--if it was worth signing and showing. They weren't all.
Again she stared into the distance, pivoting a little as she reached into the back of her truck, and brought out a thermos of lemon flavored ice water. Squatting beside the truck in the filtered shade of a mesquite tree, she drank from the thermos, continuing to stare at the landscape before her. In another half hour, she would have to leave as the colors would be washed out by intense sunlight. A faint breeze ruffled the tendrils that had pulled out of her long braid.
"So, Matilda," she asked her four-wheel drive truck, "shall we call it a day?" In the way of good, long-standing friendships, the truck listened, not commenting, recommending, criticizing, nor expressing its preference.
Raised in this rugged country, Rachel had learned to crawl with the desert as companion, teacher and friend. Her family’s ranch stood in the midst of mountains and desert. Nestling against national forest, the land stretched over rugged hills, grassland, yucca, live oak, and mesquite trees to reach the border. Except for the occasional illegal immigrant group, or less desirably the drug traders, it was free of people, a roadless region seldom seen by outsiders.
With the beauty of the cactus and wildflowers, birds and animals, and the challenge of the rugged mountains, its terrain yielded an endless string of paintings that her collectors were quick to buy.
She knew their secret though, those collectors. They really wanted on their walls the love of the land that she knew each of her paintings attempted to capture, to encapsulate. She sold love, a love of nature.  She herself intensely loved this land, and she was fortunate enough to be able to let it shine through the paint.
Out here, she had learned how suddenly life could end. When her turn came to join her ancestors, she hoped it’d be on this land with her ashes scattered over possibly the same places she painted today.
Some feared her land. She understood that. Some of its denizens were poisonous, some of its people dangerous.  As a small child, her papa had given her practical lessons in desert survival. She knew to avoid most of the hazards and appreciate all of the beauties, to never take anything for granted, knowing full well the lethal promise for the unwary, the potential for an instant of bad judgment to lead to disaster.
At first she thought her eye had been attracted by a jackrabbit or coyote, then realized it wasn't an animal. She squinted but couldn't decide what she saw or perhaps sensed—something out of place. Pulling out a pair of binoculars, she studied the terrain.  ‘A piece of cloth or…’  It was white. Maybe a... She shook her head with uncertainty. Her inner voice told her to look more closely.
She tucked her shirt into belted shorts and reached into the glove compartment to retrieve a small 9mm handgun and holster, threw a canteen over one shoulder, and grabbed a soft brim hat. Her feet were already shod with hiking boots and rolled down socks.
There was a time when she’d never have expected it to be a person. She remembered growing up when the only strangers to this land were lost hikers or those whose four-wheel drive vehicle had failed. She had, however, always understood the dangers and knew through the stories of her family that this land had never been held lightly.
It wasn't easy to line herself across the land, down through arroyos, around cholla cacti. Now and then she glanced back to her truck, but kept it in her mind where she had seen the white. "I've got to be crazy," she muttered as the heat of the sun beat down on her shoulders. "Nobody's out here." But what if there was? Someone in trouble. She must know.
When she again glimpsed the white, she recognized it as a man's shirt, ripped and torn, riffled by the faint breeze.  She hurried. Closer she could see it was a middle-aged man, hair thin on top, lying on his stomach, his form ominously still. 
She knelt at his side. "Are you all right? Como esta usted?" Was he breathing?  Swallowing hard, she touched his neck, attempting to find a barely detectable pulse. His skin was badly burnt and hot.
"Can you hear me?" she asked again. "I have water, but you have to drink."  Carefully, she turned him over, trying to prop up his head with her knee to get him in a position where she could dribble water into his mouth.  "Drink," she commanded.
The man made what appeared to be a gurgling sound, his eyes opened for a moment. She doubted he saw her before he closed them.  She poured a little water into his mouth, hoping he would swallow and not choke.  As best she could tell the water was running right out onto the ground.  She poured water into her hand and stroked it across his face.
"Try to drink. Can you hear me?"  He opened his eyes again, muttered something. She bent closer. "D...uh..." The light in his eyes was gone.  Although Rachel had seen animals take their last breath, she had never been there when a human did. She had now. Before she again felt, she knew the pulse in his neck would be gone.  She laid him down. "In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,” she whispered as she sketched the sign of the cross over his forehead.
She had to think what to do. She shouldn’t move the body, had to notify someone. She shivered as though a cold wind had blown into her heart.