I am writing today from Louisiana with much to tell and an incredibly glitchy internet connection. I just spent the better part of the morning writing a 1500 word blog post only to have it disappear when I tried to “save draft” prior to adding photographs. The long version is going to have to wait, but I’ll try again with the short version.
After much soul searching and option considering I am travelling once again with two ponies. I just didn’t feel safe riding down the road leading two pack mares who still weren’t getting along harmoniously. During a 3 day stop to wait out some serious weather (torrential downpours, thunder and lightning, hail, wind, flooding and threats of tornados) I met a remarkable young man. AM is a month shy of his 11th birthday. He’s currently working out the math to build a teepee to live in this summer (starting with finding and cutting down suitable poles). When his mom hurt her back he offered to take over the family garden this year. He’s got good basic campcraft and survival skills and is working seriously on acquiring more; he’s responsible and a good communicator and spends more time outside than inside. I was impressed! When he offered to take care of Luna Jack for me until I could return for her I felt things falling into place and a real peace in my heart for the first time since my fall. I feel confident that he’ll take good care of her and work with her and engage her brain. The day I left, when AM got off the school bus, Luna ran across the pasture to meet him at the gate and followed him down the long driveway, her nose on his shoulder, so I think she’s pretty happy with the arrangement as well. A huge Thank You to AM! (and his parents for agreeing with this plan ;-))
The past two weeks have been intense with a suddenly full social calendar and a whole new eco-system (the new one is WET!). I’ve spoken in 3 classrooms and been written up in 3 newspapers. I’ve eaten crawfish etouffee, boudin (a spicy cajun sausage) and tonight I’m looking forward to my first Gumbo. I’ve seen two bald eagles in flight, a huge flock of white pelicans and entered my 6th state. I’m keeping my eyes peeled for tornados, gators and 3 species of poisonous snakes. LC came out and rode with me for two days which was a treat (and something I’d really hoped would happen during the Journey). Her husband came along with the horse trailer which was a great help when we needed to cross the dam at the south end of the Toledo Bend Reservoir! (I’d been told that the river wasn’t but ankle deep – perhaps that’s true – but since the muck on either side of the river was belly deep and sucking we didn’t get the chance to find out!)
LC (originally from Maine) put up a post on facebook about my Journey and a man wrote back that when he was a kid, a woman from Minot heading for California stayed the night at his house – yup! Mesannie Wilkins – how cool is that!? It feels great to be making some Maine connections; feels like I’m starting to be pulled from that directions as well as pushed from California. Pictures to come when I’ve got a better connection, but will post this now while I can.
Oh – two pragma notes.
One: The wee notebook in which I’ve been collecting names and addresses and e-mails and ‘phone numbers somehow escaped from my pocket yesterday. Please, Please, Please – if you’ve given me your contact information This Year – send me an e-mail at: email@example.com so I’ve got it again. I’m working on a Free Range Rodeo postcard I’ll send out soon to everybody I’ve met thus far. I’ll be sending out another (different) one when I finally reach Maine and yet another when the book is done. If you want to be on the mailing list and you think it’s Possible that I don’t have your address, PLEASE send it to me via e-mail.
Two: Katie Cooper (www.muletriptalk.blogspot.com) is looking for a mule so that she can come ride with me for awhile. If you know of a good mule for sale anywhere between Houston, TX and Natchez, MS we’d love to know. Optimal: 13-14h, ride/drive/pack, good natured and safe w/ traffic and dogs, 6-16 years, molly, not prone to sunburn, sound.