The sun insists that we are in the heart of summer, pounding and beating on us as we finish our last miles of the day, but ah....the tall, rustling stalks of corn promise otherwise.
I remember when I was a little girl in NH and although I thought the tall corn was beautiful, I would sigh because I knew school was around the corner. Fall was coming. Yesterday Sojourner and I rode by tall stalks bursting with corn. A breeze blew making them rustle and it made me smile. After 2 solid months of the most incredible heat I have ever had to endure day after day after day it was as if they were saying, "You're through the worst of it now".
I reached over and gave Soj a little pat who has so strongly charged through this weather and brought him over to have a bite of corn which he gladly took, throwing his head up and down and up and down to loosen the dirt at the end.
We have ridden 66.5 miles in two days, crossing into Missouri and landing now in a town called Monett. On our last night in Oklahoma, Walter and I got out some of Bob's sage, burnt it, smudged ourselves in it, and decided we were going to move forward a little stronger.
I had been feeling a little dried up. I was missing home, thinking about money, thinking about miles ahead....thinking. Too much thinking. We decided we needed to make sure we were eating well and really holding on to the forward, positive energy we had started with. Sometimes you have to stop and make a change if things aren't feeling exactly right anymore and that's just what we did.
We set the alarm for 3am, snoozed a bit, and were up and going at 3:25. I don't know if it was my readiness or if this is what Soj wanted as well, but he was so light in his step. His little ears were forward and he felt as strong as an Ox under me. We rode a strong 24 miles before stopping at a river and having a swim. At this point is was around 11am and the sun was getting hot, but with only 9.3 miles left it felt totally doable.
We have been keeping the saddle off for the hotter part of the day and just leading Soj or riding bareback. This has been working well. Walter is back to his routine of rock workouts and running to us at the end of the day. Then the three of us walk the last 3 or so miles together to end the day.
"Lin, do this. Do this."
That's what he kept saying. So, I obliged.
It's funny to feel Soj pick up his step when he sees Walter running toward us in the distance. I think he knows then that it's only another hour or so until a bath and food.
On the first long day we ended pretty early so when we rode in we were extremely hot, but yesterday we happened to cross over the most beautiful river and so we spent a good part of the middle of the day there. This meant we were riding in the later afternoon for the last part of the ride and I forgot how much I absolutely love to ride later on in the day.
The animals are so alert and alive just before dusk. Soj and I rode by the cutest cows I have seen yet on this trip. They were full grown, but acted like young calves (I like people that way too. ;) ) and they were so excited to see us! They ran and bucked and threw their heads just like a kitten does when something gets into it all of a sudden and it has a little spaz.
They ran along the side of the fence with us with their big, adorable ears as curious as ever and then would all of a sudden jump into a merry little celebration and then come back to us again. Soj didn't mind them at all either!
Right now we are in a great coffee house called Mocha Joes in the historic downtown part of Monett. The food and coffee here is so good and so well priced!! Oh, how I have missed coffee houses! This is our first in a long while. I really should just open a coffee shop one day. I love the laughter and the smell and the community of them. There's a piano in here, too....hmmmm.....too bad my sister isn't here so we could play a couple tunes!
I talked to Caiti today. She said she went to the Bath house and planted herbs for us in the garden. I can't wait to put them to use. I have been thinking about all of the recipes I want to try and things I want to bake when we have a full working oven again. Oh my sweet sister, how I miss you.
Another cool thing happened the other day. We had just passed into Missouri and I was starting to feel better. We were in a new state and as the sun came up we had already accomplished a lot of miles and were all feeling pretty positive and then I came to this street!
My Poppy had been in my head that whole morning so it was especially strange. I was just thinking about how he would tell me to keep my head up and then there he was, popping his fist in the air. It's incredible, the power our families give us. And a sign, whether it be coincidence or a "sign" can fill your eyes with tears and make you smile because the spirit of someone you love is behind it. Always there. They're just always there one way or another.
I thought about my Grandma today, too, as Walter and I went for a little swim in Cindy's pool. She would love that pool. What I would have given to magically blink her and every single other member of my family there. I think I am a little homesick for them all. I've been thinking about everyone a lot lately and how much I cherish them.
Cindy is the lovely woman we are staying with who has been very kind to us and went out of her way to get us some fresh veggie salads and a good night's rest. She has a little Arab much like Sojourner who was his neighbor last night. Today Soj is in a great big field getting his fill of grass.
Tomorrow we ride to Marionville, MO which is only about 20 miles, but this way we'll get in nice and early so I can work a bit tomorrow. The leather hides have to come out manana.
Speaking of manana, Walter and I are slowly but surely still working on our Spanish. I would like to have a bit of a grasp on it by the time we get home and then I think I am going to take classes until I'm fluent. I really want to know Spanish now! This way I can surprise Henry when we fly back to CA to visit after the ride. Henry had taught me "Donde esta mi bote negro?" because I was always losing my bucket to feed Soj with.
So I took off in the Mexican saddle Henry gave me back on March 1st speaking only those words. But not for long, Henry! Soon I will know what all those words spoken at the ranch followed by little giggles mean....maybe I won't let on right away that I know Spanish! That will be fun...
Our first stop in Missouri was with a father and daughter who raise show goats, calves, chickens, and lots of other little critters. This is Abby pictured here. She just turned 14 and helps her father with everything around the ranch with a smile. Walter and I wanted so badly to spend more time with Abby and her father, Jerry. They were pretty special people.