I paused to crouch at the small stagnant pond beside the path. Last summer I would have stretched out on my stomach to watch the tadpoles, crawdads and water bugs. Now I am too self-conscious. Even in my over-sized t-shirt I don't want to be reminded of my emerging breasts. Stretching my legs, I trekked on.
Thoughts tumbled as I passed dry, root-bound tumbleweeds and gnarled mesquite trees. The sharp exchange between my parents pierced my mind as I avoided prickly pear cactus. A skittish black tarantula hastened to her hole, safe from the burning heat.
I reached the NO TRESPASSING sign at the base of the earthen dam and climbed past it to the top. I settled on a large rock and scanned the horizon for the muddy lake in the distance. An emerald skink flashed in the brush beside me. I hugged my shins, knees pressed against my bosom. Sighing, I beheld my world in the simmering afternoon.