I. THE HIGH DESERT
Someone told me I could find a reclaimed uranium mill in Tuba City, so I drove up from Flagstaff through the Arizona badlands. The town was easy to find. It sits along the only major east–west corridor of the Navajo Nation, an area roughly the size of Panama but immeasurably lonelier and therefore, in the mind, vaster. There are ten grocery stores for more than 200,000 people, most of whom live in arid, unpaved hamlets that wink in and out of view from passing cars. Turkey vultures ride the currents above layer-cake hills of shale and silt.