I started out noting the other day how fun it was to fall then spent most of yesterday morning trying very hard not to!
After my first attempt at paddleboard fishing (R rigged me up a hand line, gloves, hook and bait in a baggie which went in a mesh bag I tied to the handle of my paddleboard and Moxy and I went out and trolled awhile) we took what was advertised to me as what “should be a really nice ride up to the Javier Mission” on our motorbikes. ROAD bikes, mind you.
We left mid morning to avoid the heat of the day and set off up the very scenic jagged desert mountain. The road was paved. Except when it wasn’t. The hour long climb featured regular intervals of roadwork, either actually or passively underway. I’m really not too keen on soft dirt and loose rocks in any combination. I have to steel myself, and my thumbs were already sore from the new paddleboard posture (sitting on it mostly). But you know how it is, you keep going, thinking each unpaved sinuous section will be the last, if you are the optimistic type, like R and I are. And Moxy of course, is behind R on his Honda 1100, no longer shiny and wine red, but dusty grey, she looking this way and that out of her black painted wood “Moxy box.” He built this for her, certainly a demonstration of his affection for ME as well as the dog, when I gave up on the idea of putting her in a side car. And I asked him to switch the box from my black and silver Honda 750 Shadow when we decided to do this trip. I could manage with her, but it did require extra strength and balance and I felt more comfortable with the idea of him hauling her in unfamiliar terrain so he switched it to his bike for this trip. The box is basically three sides with a little lip in front and a three point harness to keep her from being pitched out if he had to do any emergency braking. Works great. She loves going with us. She Is still learning to wear her doggles; doesn’t much like them.
Quite unexpectedly, nearing the top of this mountainous arid landscape we found ourselves having to cross sections of water sweeping slowly across the road. Never very deep or very far, but slippery, as they say as “snot on a wet log.” I hung my feet down, expecting to have to catch myself any given moment, and got my shoes and pants wet, which actually felt good in the warm air afterwords.
The twohundred year old stone cement block mission actually looked far older, and was impressive towering against the sky in that lonely place, surrounded only by a few family farmers. (oh yeah, there were sheep and bulls in the road as well). A bell tower was on top. An orange tree with the most intoxicating fragrance from even yard away, was covered in white blossoms and bees the size of my thumb, as well as shiney green hummingbirds, not much bigger than the bees.
The interior had an elaborate gold altar and beautiful paintings of saint Javier, as well as other assorted saints, done long ago in oil, still looking very good. I did not dip into the water and cross myself, and I also didn’t light a candle for anyone, which I was kind of inclined to do, actually, but I DID tell Ron we better put some money in the box for the mission or we might not make it back down the hill. Well, either I should have lit a candle for us, or anointed myself with holy water, or we simply went to skimpy on the donation, but Ron and Moxy went down, slow motion, right in front of me in that slick green stuff on the way down. Neither were hurt, but it sure wasn’t pretty, and scared the bejesus out of me. I had been thinking on the way down, we should unhook her for the crossing in case he did slip. Later I thought, how dumb, we could have simply let her out and cross on her own four feet. There was next to no traffic. She would have liked getting her feet wet.
On the way up I told Ron with consternation that I was going to have HIM ride my bike down a particularly ugly section of unpaved road, but after that, when he stopped to offer, I said; “just get my dog down safely and I’ll go down slow and hang my feet down.” He remarked with a smile that this was the second time I seemed more concerned about the well being of my dog than my husband.
Well, we did make it down fine, and the trip home was beautiful, but I did ask not to stop for lunch on the way home. When we arrived back at the CASA, he gave me a hug and said, “well honey, we made it through another adventure in one piece.” I returned the embrace weakly and responded, “I am going to have a puff of the last of my fine tobacco, and a Hornitos and we shall speak of this no more.”
He let me crash in the outdoor recliner on the upstairs deck, and I really did crash. Finally every tensed muscle in my body let go. I did not cry.
I do love that guy. My first love, in high school, seemed to enjoy my Tomgirlness, in fact we met on a long hike with a church group over the cascades. He ended up falling however for a real girly girl which always caused me to doubt a man’s ability to really truly be attracted to a butchy girl like me. But R did, and is the most secure male I think I have ever met. He is tall and strong and has a fabulously prominent nose, which I have always adored. He is wickedly smart and courted me as a girl always wishes in her dreams to be courted. It seemed our honeymooning would never end. I do remember well, (and I will be the first to acknowledge, that my loves were not few, and startled some in their variety)The first, the last, and every love in between, that feeling that can and is always described as a falling sensation. Loss of control, fear, hope, lurching hearted slipping, unable to find your footing, and finally letting go and falling, falling, falling, hoping to God that your beloved will be falling too, and somehow, with that first kiss, or that first touching of the fingertips, or that first profession of passion, knowing that you are not falling alone changes absolutely everything. It becomes the best kind of falling in the whole world. Even in the desert.
julie..I keep relating to you..why is that? Your writing skills are stronger than mine. I’m jealous..o.k., I guess it’s not jealousy, but it’s the relateability..like when uncle Larry says something you’re thinking..puts into words the thoughts I can’t seem to put into words. I’m really enjoying your memories..which are in sync with mine..the basement full of jars of stuff I wouldn’t touch back then..but that old world. The intimacy with nature..the feeling you’re part of something so deep and beautiful.
Thanks for the words, joe…you ARE good with them! Since this is the first time I have “read Joe” I had no idea…It has been fun to have you remember with me with parallel experiences.