A week ago today there was a knock on the trailer door. “You need to pack up and move on down the road, Today.” This was not part of the carefully constructed plan that would allow Sea to spend a week away from the herd, celebrating her parents’ 50th anniversary at a family reunion in Disney World, while Gryph and the 4 ponies had a safe haven where they didn’t have to worry about traveling (and the herd stayed in proximity to LA and the airports). The Fox had a plane ticket and plans to come over from Ireland so that he and Gryph could spend some time together. There was a moment of panic. Now What!?!
Focus on the Pragma. We packed our drybags. We updated the blog’s “daily update” page. We groomed and saddled the horses. We loaded everything we owned onto Finehorn and Daisy. We climbed aboard Jesse James and Cowgirl and rode on down the road. Four hours was enough time to get everything sorted, including our headspace. Really, apart from the minor complication of the flight to Florida, we were just doing what we’d already been doing for 3 1/2 months – riding down the road with our horses and looking for a place to stay every night. We rode down the road feeling unsettled – and relieved! The situation hadn’t been good from the beginning, but it was the only plan we had. Now what?
Sea called home, wanting to reassure her folks that she was still planning to be there for the reunion/celebration. Somehow. The reassurance flowed in the other direction. Sea’s mom reminded us how quickly everything changes in this strange life we are living. How frequently things have changed dramatically in a day or three. We thought about that as we rode. How often our plans have fallen through in favor of something better than we could have hoped for or imagined. We were exhausted and feeling a bit lost - but it was a beautiful day to be riding, the ponies were in good form and glad to be moving on and we had no choice but to trust that the way would be made clear. If only everything didn’t feel so complicated…
We rode across the desert for several hours feeling like we were fleeing – needing to put distance between us and the week of draining toxicity we’d left behind. This was a land of tumbleweeds and jackrabbits, rabbitbrush and ravens, abandoned houses in a parched valley between mountain ranges adorned with modern windmills and a few traces of snow. We were tired and in need of a safe haven for the night, but approaching a stranger to ask for hospitality seemed daunting and unlikely. Our faith in our fellow man (and woman) was not at an all-time high. We wondered if maybe the water was still on at one of the abandoned houses…
Finally we saw an empty corral with a few outbuildings behind a house that looked well cared for and possibly inhabited. We rode up the driveway and dismounted, looking at one another and shrugging. The worst they could do was say no – and it looked like our best option. Gryph bravely walked up to the door and knocked.
The reaction of the woman who answered her knock was delightful and welcoming. We were welcome to the corral, we were invited to dinner, we were offered showers and the opportunity to do laundry, we were embraced by a Family. H’s husband came home from his job as an Air Force pilot and was similarly warm and welcoming and real. Their 5 kids were a joy to interact with - polite and curious and alive and fun. They were being homeschooled and the first 13 presidents were posted on the wall above the kitchen table. Dinner conversation was easy and genuine. We started to relax – so very grateful for this unexpected pleasure.
The next morning the kids helped us groom and saddle the horses, Jesse and Cowgirl gave them each a ride around the paddock, and we rode out feeling much renewed in body and soul. Gryph was thoughtful and quiet during the first part of our ride, and finally remarked that this was the first time she’d really understood “Family”, in the sense of “oh, so that’s what a family is, that sense of belonging and inter-relation – what an inspiration to see the beauty of how they all co-exist in connection with one another.”