Last night I sat down and started a blog entry about the ups and downs of the past week. I hit the “save draft” button and went to take a bath. When I got back to the computer, everything I’d written had vanished. It’s been quite a week and I’ll do my best to write about it soon.
Tonight I’m sitting down to write with an aching heart and tears blurring my vision. Jesse James hasn’t improved over the past two weeks and this morning a vet came out to see him. The current diagnosis is “Metabolic Derangement leading to Rhabdomyolosis (muscle damage)”. The bottom line is that he’s not going to be able to continue on this Journey. It’s not a death sentence, but he needs a special low-carb diet which we can’t provide for him on the road – and he needs a month or so of rest and then gradual reconditioning. I cannot imagine this Journey without him.
At this point we have no intention of calling off the trip, however I am honestly at a loss in terms of where to go from here. We have a rest stop planned in Rosamond, CA – from mid-January through mid-February at Mariah Country Farms, a WWOOFing host farm that makes goat milk soaps (among other things). That’s 4 weeks from now. For the past two weeks I’ve been walking along the road leading Jesse and Cowgirl (who has been steadily carrying the pack) for 5 – 12 miles a day and the blisters on the soles of my feet have broken and reformed repeatedly. For four of those days we’ve been blessed with someone willing to transport our gear in their vehicle and I’ve been able to ride Cowgirl, who has done really well – but that doesn’t help Jesse, who has been gamely keeping up, trudging along because he understands that it’s necessary. It’s hard to see the point in that now that we know he’s not going to improve under these conditions.
Right now I feel like my first priority is to find a good situation for Jesse. Then we need to find another horse so that I don’t wind up walking to the east coast. Meanwhile, tomorrow we move on, because that’s what we do. We have visions of walking up to some random house tomorrow afternoon and knocking on the door of some unsuspecting family, happily involved in their Christmas celebrations, and saying “Hello, nobody’s pregnant and we don’t have a donkey, but could we maybe sleep in your stable tonight with our three ponies?” We’ll let you know how that goes…