It was just before this moment, when the road was on the rise and had been for several winding miles, that we passed a man on the side of the road pushing a grocery cart loaded with bags and belongings. He wore the familiar layers of a homeless person, topped by a khaki jacket and a winter baseball cap, the kind with ear flaps that fold down.
He looked like he belonged on Thomas and 51st in Phoenix, next to the guy I gave a dollar to this morning. But instead, he had his head down and was pushing the cart up the hill, one step after the other. It wasn’t easy, he was working hard at it. But he was steady and determined. Up the hill he would go.
I twisted around in my seat to look at him. Did I really see a homeless guy in the middle of the Tonto National Forest? There were no towns. We were near nothing except trees and rocks, the road, an occasional car going by. How far had this man and his grocery cart come and why?
In a few minutes, the man was out of sight, left behind as we came to the top of the rise and then floated down the hill and around the bend. I’ll never know where the man with the cart was going or if he got there. That’s his business, I guess, not mine. Not every question gets answered.