(This photo is unrelated to the post: just a beautiful oak tree here on the ranch.)
Yesterday was adventurous, and not always deliberately so.
We dragged ourselves out of the house, because it was sunny. Or rather, we leaped out of the house, beaming, but rather later than we planned. We drove through forests and fields, exclaiming over the wildflowers. It never gets tiring to us, we are easy to please. We filled up at a tiny little gas station, in a cute little town, planning to drive the hour and a half to Shelter Cove.
When we stopped at the grocery store, we saw an old friend in the parking lot. It's always nice to see an old friend in the parking lot! She pointed out that our tire was getting low. It has a slow leak. Mmmm hmmm! we said, and then headed into the store to stand in the chip aisle for about an hour, gaping over the 800 brands and styles of chip. How does one choose? And then another old friend found us there, and gave us big hugs. And so we invited her to the coast with us. She said that maybe she'd meet us later.
I don't know what happened in that grocery store. It was like a vortex. It felt like we had been there for our whole lives. It felt like one minute we were dipping our toe in the world of food products, and the next we were emerging from a sludgy pool of time waste, gasping and spluttering. I know that I spent far too many minutes staring vacantly at price labels. Part of the problem is that, Post-India, I still don't understand money. What is a dollar, exactly? What does it represent? When I look at something that costs $3.00, for instance, I think with excitement, "Well, I have three dollars! I have three dollars right here in my wallet!" And then I buy it. But was it a good price? I may never know.
We did leave, eventually, with bread, hummus, swiss cheese, pickles, salami, and crisp, hard apples.
And promptly forgot about the tire.
Which meant... that we drove twenty minutes down a remote road and then had to fill it with our little emergency tire inflater thing, that you plug into your cigarette lighter. (I didn't even know that we had a tire inflater thing!) The only problem was that our cigarette lighter doesn't work. Fortunately, a sweet woman was waiting in her car for her grandson to get off the school bus. And she was more than kind. We used her cigarette lighter and chatted for a while. The kids scrambled up and down the hill, grabbing onto trees and digging in piles of dirt and pine needles.
With a full tire, we were back on the road. We drove up hills and down hill, curving around, and then back around the other way. Suddenly, I realized that my brakes weren't exactly working. I leaned on them with all my weight and slowed down enough to pull off the road. I put the van in park and pulled the emergency brake. Immediately, smoke was billowing out of the wheel wells. There was no fire, but they were hot. I burned them. I'm very sorry.
We let the brakes cool, hoping that they would work again. We inspected the flowering tree by the roadside, which I thought was purple. YaYa disagreed. She thought it was blue. In reality, it was probably periwinkle.
We peered at wild irises. Chinua taught the kids to throw stones so they could hit a knot in a tree. I tried to meditate. I prayed. I thanked God for the view and for being able to stop, and for my family.
Eventually, eventually... we were ready to go again. The brakes worked fine.
Our friend had passed us and probably wondered what under heaven was taking us so long, but she stopped and talked to us and we decided to follow her to a spot she knew of.
A spot where the waves crashed wildly, in a frenzy. In a mad, uninhibited, orchestra of frenzy. It was very soothing.
We climbed on top of a very big rock, and she told me she'd been sitting on that very spot when the recent large Humboldt earthquake had occurred. I thought that was crazy, to be sitting on a piece of rock at the ocean when the earth starts shaking? Wow. I mean, if you're going to be anywhere when there's this shaking, this dog-pick-you-up and toss you back and forth shaking, maybe the line between earth and sea is the place to be.
We hung out for a few hours. We ate our picnic. We talked. The kids ran around and Solo ended up wading through very cold water. I pulled his socks off and rubbed his little feet. We decided that it was time to go. It was getting close to sunset.
And we drove home, our friend following us, just in case our tire tried anything sneaky on us again. And we made it back to the ranch, ready for bed and sleep and the absence of dreams of going down hills with no brakes.
(Updated to add: the tire is fixed! And my camera is found! Two good endings.)