I feel the rain closing in. Picketpost is doing its best to hold it back, but you can see it climbing that mountain, and just know eventually it’s going to lower itself over the other side.
But I’ve decided it doesn’t matter. There is such peace when I stop running away from something.
Today I will do a bit of mental and physical preparation, but before I can get to it, the coffee bell rings down at Sue’s trailer, and Pips and I first join her and a fellow traveller to enjoy this treasured morning ritual together.
Sue provides coffee and has made a delicious spinach quiche. She has a great little vintage trailer with a full-size fridge and stove, including an oven; a bit of a rarity when boondocking! I cut up apples and bring cashew butter for dipping. Our other friend Jef brings stories of his time in the marines and we pass a lovely morning swapping bird sightings and trying to identify them with a field book.
While we delight in our collective arrival into this new day, we are visited by a very melodic feathered friend, and determine it to be a Cactus Wren. Our bird bible tells us this is a particularly bold and sociable wren. I think it wanted in on our conversation.
The bird eventually flies, and so do we.
I head into town to find the kind shop-keepers with my propane tank. But it’s Monday, and many of the shops don’t recognize Monday as a business day. There is one open art gallery though, and the proprietor is happy to give me the phone numbers I need to contact them.
A couple calls and I’ve located the tank; now in the hands of a local massage therapist. If you are going to be in anyone’s hands, these are the ones I suggest. I can say this because I was a grateful recipient of one of her massages yesterday, and the health benefits are still being felt today. I’m happy I will get to connect with her again.
I take a winding walk through town, dipping into the residential areas. Our presence is announced by a succession of dogs on sentry duty. On our way back to the van, I see an open door on Main Street I hadn’t noticed before and it delivers us into a juice and smoothie bar, making my lunch decision for me.
As is custom in most small towns, any form of business transaction is an invitation to learn more about the area, and a bit about each another. I’m sure it takes me half an hour to make the transaction, which ends on a high-protein, sweet note.
While waiting to learn where I’ll pick up my tank, I’m invited to use my friend’s in-town house to shower and write. This includes the pleasure of listening to Patsy Cline and browsing a lovely collection of books about Arizona’s wildlife, geology and history.
Now cleaner than I have been in four months (having had two full body showers in one week) I set off to pick up van-snacks to sustain me during the rain. If it rains hard, I won’t be cooking, so I stock up on mixed nuts and a couple energy bars. I have yogurt and cheese in the fridge. I have an apple and a couple bananas. I won’t starve, but having a little treat makes the rain seem like a special event, so I make sure one of the mixed nuts have chocolate chips in it.
I tidy the van, so things are accessible without going outside. I can access clothing from inside (my bed has trap doors) but I make sure my rubber sandals are at the ready. I don’t mess with running shoes or hiking boots when it rains, I just use shoes I can slip my bare feet into and leave out in the rain. Lacking a “mud room,” I prefer not to bring wet shoes in the van.
In late afternoon, I drive to meet my superior massage therapist (pun intended) and have the pleasure of meeting her husband too. Any exchanging of fuel tanks also has a requisite social exchange and we enjoy a good half-hour of banter before I head home.
Back at camp, the cows also prepare for the weather. If Canadian cows lie down in a group, they say it will rain. Here, those preparations appear to include the circling of any nearby vehicles.
I am loving my unexpected Farm-Stay and am delighted to be an accepted member of the herd. Even Pippa has accepted these gentle creatures who have been our constant companions here at the National Forest. As I settle into my bed tonight, without care, concern or anxiety, I make a note to myself.
Don’t run. Lean In. Just because we call it bad weather, doesn’t mean it IS.