The juniper shrubs' strength is tough to describe without feeling them cut skin through a pair of thick jeans. It's as though those shrubs take blood as some toll for passage through their unyielding branches.

But sometimes their limbs' tips separate just enough for a person to squeeze through and navigate the channels made by that space. And sometimes those lead to openings so remote that deteriorated balloons from some far-off birthday party may be the only signs of human contact. The joy of sitting in those openings, aware of the strength of those branches' protection, creates an unparalleled peace.

And there's a silence in those openings that, even while being broken by the fluttering birds and distant gun shots, still feels safe. So, maybe taxless lands and untolled roads are just fiction and fantasy like some Love Potion No. 9. But to sit in such serenity after that pained effort is a catharitic depth unreachable by any term other than love.