by John Egenes
In 1974 a disenfranchised young man from a broken home set out to do the impossible. With a hundred dollars in his pocket, a beat up cavalry saddle, and a faraway look in his eye, John Egenes saddled his horse Gizmo and started down the trail on an adventure across the North American continent. Their seven month journey took them across 11 states from California to Virginia, ocean to ocean.. As they left the pressing confinement of the city behind them, the pair experienced the isolation and loneliness of the southwestern deserts, the vastness of the prairie, and the great landscapes that make up America. Across hundreds of miles of empty land they slept with coyotes and wild horses under the stars, and in urban areas they camped alone in graveyards and abandoned shacks. Along the way John and Gizmo were transformed from inexperienced horse and rider to veterans of the trail. With his young horse as his spiritual guide John slowly began to comprehend his own place in the world and to find peace within himself. Full of heart and humor, Egenes serves up a tale that's as big as the America he witnessed, an America that no longer exists. It was a journey that could only have been experienced step by step, mile by mile, from the view between a horse's ears.
The young horse stands in the pale light of a gibbous moon, his hindquarters positioned so they block the cold northwest wind. Spring has remained cool and dry here in the high desert of the southwest, and the nightly winds have steadily robbed the place of its water. A heavy toll has been taken this year on the plants and animals who live here, and the horse can sense the corpse of one of his kind close by, though the man who travels with him is unaware of it.
The moon is bright, but not quite bright enough, and the man labors to read a beat-up paperback novel. He wishes the moon was full, and as it moves lower across the sky, the man finally gives up his struggle and stuffs the book into his saddlebags. He gets to his feet, walks over to the horse, and scratches the animal's ears, one by one. The horse enjoys this. The man says goodnight and retires to his sleeping bag, leaving the horse to gaze at the night sky.
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John Egenes has been a musician, a saddlemaker, a dog catcher, and a hobo, among other things. He only learns by making mistakes and he views his life through a windshield full of squashed bugs. He makes his home in New Zealand.
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John Egenes will be awarding 4 digital copies of the book to 4 randomly drawn winners via rafflecopter during the tour