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Saturday essay: Passages

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Traveling abroad for personal, educational or professional reasons?

Why not share your impressions — and those of residents of foreign countries about the United States — with Trib readers in 150 words?

The world's a big place. Bring it home with Letters Home.

Contact Colin McNickle (412-320-7836 or cmcnickle@tribweb.com).

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'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Friday, May 24, 2013, 8:57 p.m.
 

The early morning sky is deceiving as the final third of spring prepares for summer's advent.

As the first orange of the rising sun crests the horizon, illuminating the sharp and well-defined cumulus clouds, a wide and natural brush appears to have painted a tall and broad mountain range.

It's a fleeting mirage as the growing glow reveals the reality — the orange has turned decidedly reddish; urban “sailors” soon will take warning.

A “passage” time is upon us once again. Just as Labor Day mentally signals the beginning of fall, Memorial Day signals the beginning of summer. Just as the urge to nest and cocoon comes with the former, fueled by the first hints of foreboding northwest winds, the urge to step out and explore comes with the latter, energized by southwest breezes that, while at times carrying storms, carry the promise of sweeter air and rainbows, real and metaphorical.

The red skies have faded to a storm-hue purple. In the distance, there's a sense of a streaking fog that's actually the rapidly moving rain sheet. It arrives much as does a bucket of water being discarded. Makeshift ports — a bus stop here, an entryway there — harbor those caught by surprise (or at least feigning surprise to mask their umbrella forgetfulness).

But as quickly as they came, the showers are spent. There's no rainbow this morning. And the passing bus masks any sweetness that would have been a consolation.

— Colin McNickle

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