It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade. ~ Charles Dickens
The Mimbres River is dry as a bone when Jo and I roll over its bridge. From there I was looking out into a vast nothingness, headed south and to the east through miles and miles of ranch land.
The hot springs are now behind me. I could have stayed for another week, soaking up the sun, absorbing the healing minerals. Those who gather there are so incredibly kind. One example; I returned from my last soak, moments before I was leaving, to find an assortment of fresh fruit resting on the back of my bike. Compassion and kindness find me everywhere I go.
For many of the miles that Jo and I have traveled, the weather has been close to perfect. The wind from the north is on my back, pushing me gracefully down this old highway as it also gives life to the grass rustling in the cool breeze.
I made a stop about twenty six miles into the day, fueling up on green chili enchiladas and topping off my canteen. I’m basically riding from one water source to the next as I explore this country.
The next watering hole is twenty eight miles up the road, a place called The Nut Bar. This remote roadhouse is visited by local ranchers, thirsty travelers, and me. On the weekends it’s a popular place for motorcyclist to gather. In the summer months, their asphalt parking lot becomes a puzzle of Harley’s, parked handlebar to handlebar.
I only meant to stop for water and then continue pedaling. Thomas and his Native American wife, Susan are the keepers of this little slice of heaven on earth. She’s a Hopi Indian. I sit at the bar next to two other couples who were out exploring and old ghost town, touring around topless in their rustic jeep.
Thomas offers to feed me. He feeds everyone who visits The Nut Bar. A crockpot of corn beef and cabbage stew is on the ready. And a pot of beans. There’s no charge. At the same time he offers me a place to stay for the night, a comfortable nineteen sixties era modular.
I accept their hospitality and then retreat to the covered front porch where others are rocking in their chairs, staring out towards the neighboring wind farm and watching the sun as it sets.
There are more cattle dogs here than people. Shoeless Jo meets Carlie and the two romp around in the gravel.
When I awake, Susan has made coffee and waffles. We sit inside at the bar getting to know each other. Susan has spent her life loving people. She shares about her passions; empowering families affected by domestic violence, and helping the youth in her native tribe earn an education.
Here on these rural ranches children go to school and they work. The bus picks them up at seven in the morning just as the sun is rising, a sixty mile round trip ride. They arrive home in time for dinner. On weekends the kids are up early and participate with the chores; branding cattle, repairing fences, tilling fields and harvesting crops. There’s no internet, no video games, and no iPads. Instead, they play with a rock and stick, kick a can, or read a book.
Here on the front stoop, the American Flag is blowing. Is it waiving hello or saying goodbye? Either way it is signaling to me that once again I’ll have the wind on my back.
I can’t see it. I can only feel the effects of the wind, the love that is being blown toward me.