I awoke this morn atop the hay bales in the barn. A slight pink tinged the eastern sky and the sound of hooves could be heard among the ash-throated flycatcher. My body ached in most places from yesterday’s ride and my eyelids begged for moments more. The unusual smell of damp, fresh earth seemed to be becoming normal, along with the condensation dripping from the rafters… directly onto the few inches of my exposed face of course. When I slowly and stiffly rose to a sitting position, I saw the long ears gathered at my gate staring amusedly at my sleepy face. It hurt getting up and climbing down, but the ride was worth it. We were granted the privilege yesterday of going out for a fun ride. I started Sugar trotting up the driveway and I could hardly believe it when she broke into a cantor. I couldn’t keep from laughing out loud and squealing a bit. I felt so proud. Of Sugar, of myself, of our relationship. I didn’t know she had the motivation in her to move at that pace… but she knew I was finally ready to run. We went up the driveway, across the mesa, through the tunnel, up the road in Lookout Pasture to a high peak overlooking the land I’ve called home for the past 2 months. On the way back we were enveloped on the north, south and east by deep gray rainclouds. Lightening struck over the mine. The wind blew a cool, constant breeze through our shirt buttons on the mesa. But the storm didn’t catch us.
The evening was warm and gay. It was the twins’ 12th birthday so we celebrated into the night. We bounced on the trampoline past dusk until elk spaghetti was steaming from our plates. Prickly pear margaritas littered the table. We churned ice cream by hand, with all the kids (including me and Joe) taking turns. It turned out mysteriously salty, which was interesting for a moment, but quickly became incredibly unappetizing. Nevertheless it was served, along with Sarah’s Guinness cake that failed to rise. Oh, but we sang and indulged anyway. There were marshmallow creatures, broken glass, deep laughter that ached sore gut muscles. And then… hugs for a goodbye that didn’t, and still doesn’t, seem real.