A couple of weeks ago I took a blurry photo of my boys and old Toby dog as we made our way back to the car after a wander.
Toby is about 90 percent retired to rolling around in the grass and chewing on whatever old disgusting bone he has mind to bring home and chew on. He is 13 and he (do not tell him) is not as spritely as he once was. He almost never gets to go for a ride anymore.
Even he knows things have changed.
When I came upon this old blurry good for nothing photo in my camera, however, I was taken by surprise by the emotion it carried me to.
As hard as it is on the old guy, he still loves to wander as much as his Mama. And, as much as the boys. As my first kid, he always belongs in the mix that is now a foursome. I know the days the four of us romp stomp and wander without school and work schedules or dogie heaven are so limited.
So its time to cut, bail and stack grass hay. That means my man is tractor bound for about 12 hours a day. Which, also means me and my three amigos have to find something besides occasional work-invites to keep us busy (and from getting bored).
Did I leave you hanging yesterday with the wild Wednesday post? Did you feel like perhaps you missed the bus and the story that proceeded it? It was my intention. Now you know.
It began like this.
It was Tuesday and my voice of reason, (ahem, my man) agreed it was a good idea to take the boys on an errand. The car works. I really want to go check out this hot springs by Metropolis, on my way into Wells. I do not even get past the tumbleweed wish before he reasons with me. He says: Just wait until I can go.
Off to work he went, and off the regularly scheduled programming I went. It was so subtle even I do not realize it: I have gathered all that I would need for an entire day wander. I open up the back of the Mommy car and whistle for Toby.
Sometimes I am after something and I do not even know it. It was then I knew what I was after. The errand in Wells was going to take a back seat to a good little drive down a dirt road to find water and let my Toby dog swim. You know, drive by where the hot springs might be. And, if I don't find water then I will put some gas in the mommy car while I am doing that errand in Wells, and hit up plan B, which is to check out Angel Lake, above Wells.
I do not really rip up sagebrush when I range. I take pictures of it.
We stop and got out, and I tell everyone to watch out for snakes. I could imagine that back at the ranch, my man has discovered Toby is gone and now suspects we were headed to the never never.
I send off a text: We took the long way. I will let you know when we get to Wells. Everything is fine.
The shortest best route to Wells is one hour round trip if you are after it. What we call the long way home is between one and two hours round trip, depending on attitude. I know he knows I mean the really really really long way...almost all dirt, blow through 100 miles, and no real estimate available for my estimated time of arrival, back home.
The phone rings. My voice of reason brings me a few too many good reasons why I should not have. I try to convince him I am not at any hot springs. I try to convince him I was careful; and that I am not anywhere near the Nevada never never.
He hangs up and I send him a text: Calm down.
My Toby is swimming...
And, I am taking pictures...
I act like it is fine to behave this way because I know it is. Then, I bumped into a clump of bright orange wild geraniums.
The scrubby orange flowers were a favorite wildflower of my Grammie. I miss her, and when I see things she loved, I remember how precious my time with her was. When my son bent down to pick one, and then my other son shoved another handful in his pockets, the lesson came full circle.
One happy memory such as this will be just as sacred as my grandmother's memory is to me, someday. I know our time as a four-legged wild bunch who wanders off, is precious because it does have a real limit.
And, do not worry that my man was really mad when we did finally arrive home.
The corners of his lips lifted into a slight smile when the voice of reason came out of his mouth.
He said, "Typical Heidi. It took you six hours to run an errand." Then he gestures toward the dusty old mommy car we broke the bank to fix last week and he adds, "I can tell you went in the sagebrush!"
And his smile means I am still the woman he came to Nevada to love. And, just because he was really quiet when he watched me unload a beat down Toby who could barely carry his back end, I made sure I stuck to the game plan on Wednesday. That means I had to work my little butt off to make good on my wanderlust.
And now you know. That is why I had to let Paul Harvey tell you what I did not have time to explain.
You cannot put an estimated time of arrival on one special moment or one good memory. Just gather them whenever and wherever you can. Life has limits and these memories are all we have to get us through the hard times.
July 14, 2011