Setting up my easel in the glorious Arizona sunshine, I turned as a car pulled up beside me. A friendly lady leaned over her passenger and said, “Oh, you’re painting. Tell anybody who asks that Jessica says you can stay here. But be careful of the illegals, they hide in those bushes over there.” She pointed to a tangle of growth about fifteen feet from my easel and drove off in a cloud of dust.
My ears and mind were on high alert with every snapping twig. Bird songs sounded like secret signals. I painted a little faster and looked over my shoulder every few seconds, but nobody jumped out of the bushes. It reminded me of fishing in tall grass in Alaska and the unsettling feeling of the possibility of bears who might be sleeping or catching fish just a few feet away.