In five weeks this ride will be done. Minot, Maine will be a real place full of real people in my heart – rather than a spot on a map, a destination and a bunch of e-mails full of plans. So often these days I find myself a bit overwhelmed with the muchness of it all; heart overflowing and eyes welling up. This has been my all-consuming life for two very full years and it’s kind of hard to imagine anything else as fully real – although I do have very clear fantasies about not packing and balancing the packs every day, about a bed that doesn’t roll up every morning, about some sort of a kitchen to call my own.
The “Writing Naturally” workshop at Rowe Conference Center last weekend was everything I’d hoped it would be and more – H. Emerson Blake (Chip) is ed-in-chief of “Orion Magazine” which I’ve read and loved for many years and even more than “writing” I was challenged to think about why I write and for whom. Discussions about generosity to the reader and building bridges of thoughts and words, writing to increase the capacity for wonder and a new perspective – incredibly helpful as I think about the book that will need to be carved out and crafted from the sometimes overwhelming abundance of stories I’ve ridden through since 10.October, 2011. The voice in my head says: “Tell the stories and let the stories tell the Story.” Sage advice, but how to choose which stories to tell!?!
Even now, trying to get a blog post written, choose between the photographs (which are taking forever to load) pack the bags (laptop rides nestled in the bedroll – so this has to happen first) and get back on the trail in time to make tonight’s destination before dusk… Knowing it’s inevitable that I’ll ride down the road thinking of what I should have said!
I’ve had a lot of good company on the road in the past stretch. Lucy Leaf, a Long Rider from Maine who rode her horse Igor across the country (and back!) for 4 years in the 70s came out to meet me on Thursday. She’d spent Wednesday scouting a route for me from Adams to Rowe – lovely trails I never would have found on my own and a perfect camp spot between a brook and an orchard. It was like having a guardian trail angel along for a day – coming out of the woods at odds with my map, there she was, pointing the way! Coming down a long steep curvy grade, there she was, right behind me with her flashers on, warning other vehicles! Sharing stories and laughter and thoughts on living with the herd – All this and pizza too! 😉
I met a horsewoman/farmer/artist/writer at Rowe who took me in and then passed me on and Massachusetts has been a delight of hospitality, beautiful back roads and nourishing companionship. I’ve had hosts ride out with me to get me started and ride out to find me and bring me in and one woman who rode a middle stretch (on her Fjord) and when we got to her farm the ponies had a drink and I was given fresh maple candy (my favorite!) The weather (until yesterday) has been holding sunny and breezy and beautiful for riding through and the bounty of apples continue to delight us all.