I had been following the westward-sloping sun for five hours from San Nicolas when it finally dipped below the lazy rolling hills of La Meseta. There was nothing in front of me but a rough dirt track that extended in a straight line along a small river that was low and silt-colored and trickled through high strands of reeds and pockets of brown scrub.
I looked south toward the hills and saw a lone oak surrounded by freshly plowed fields; the oak was silhouetted against the darkening sky, and its shadow was cast long on the furrows. Beyond the oak, a tractor turned the dry soil, kicking up eddies of dust that swirled like ash from dying autumn fires.
Soon the sky turned a violent shade of pink and streaks of orange ran across the horizon, escaping the weighty blackness falling from above. The tractor finished plowing for the day and rambled across the field until it came to an asphalt road, then turned off and headed east, with the last light of day glinting off of its raised plow. When it had all but disappeared down the road, I turned back to the path ahead of me. On the cusp of nightfall, there was not even a murmur of wind, and I trod across the plain in silence.
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