Today is the last whole day at the ranch, and, not to be outdone, it is, so far, one of the most exhausting but rewarding. I guess that pretty much sums up every day, but today it was especially true. We herded the cattle to another field. Okay, "herded" is probably not the right word. Luke had three of the mama cattle on an extended leash of sorts while Katie and I walked behind and clapped when the cows began to lag. I'd say we went probably a mile like this through the woods, up and down hills, and finally to a large open pasture to "liven it up" a bit for the herd. On a side note, the walk really did open up a whole new level of vastness to Redwood Valley. We walked for a good 30 minutes without seeing a road or person. Back to the adventures in cow wrangling, we then had to walk the perimeter of this extremely large field to make sure there were no holes or gates left open. On our way back (even longer this time), we walked through the vineyards, ate fresh peaches, and climbed into this tower thing which gave us an extraordinary view of the valley. Amazing.
By the time we got back, I was exhausted and thirsty, but it was on to the next adventure - blackberry picking! Oh, how I've missed your razor-sharp thorny branches, the clawing feeling on the underside of your leaves, and your "only-the-good-ones-are-higher-than-you-can-reach" motto. Not.
Now my hands are stained and scraped again. My legs are throbbing. I feel like sleeping for days. I'm eating avocados and rice. Just another day at the Frey Ranch.
I can't help but savor every one of these moments today, because I know that this life and these people are something to cherish. There infinite wisdom, existentialism, kindness, patience, generosity, and freedom have truly enriched and changed my life for the better. They are constantly searching for that next level of being, that hidden insight into the way humanity/ the world works. I am forever inspired by them - by their focus on developing yourself first, on their love of nature and family and friends, on their health and what they put into their bodies, on their acceptance of all, and on their willingness to share what they create with others (including complete strangers like myself). I truly believe that this has changed the direction my life was going. Maybe not, but there will definitely be some really powerful additions to what I do on a daily basis.
To be completely honest, I will have to hold back some tears tonight at our (the other wwoofer's last day is today, too) farewell dinner of filet mignon, polenta, salad, and ice cream with blackberries (in case you were wondering).
Now, on to a much lighter topic, I don't want curiosity to kill any cats, so I will share my travel plans for the next five days. I am leaving for San Francisco tomorrow around 8 am (Pacific Time). I will hang out there all day and then stay at a KOA about 30 minutes north of the city. On Saturday, I plan to take a leisurely time getting to the next KOA (in Barstow CA), traveling down the Pacific Coast Highway and stopping at will. Then Sunday through Tuesday will be my stint to good old Fayetteville. I will be stopping in Tucmucari New Mexico and West Memphis Arkansas along the way and arriving in Fayetteville on the evening of August 3rd. I will have traveled through 20 states, conquered four time zones, and seen some pretty amazing things - the Pacific Ocean tops the list at this point.
Well, I'm off. Off to clean the kitchen, do some more chores, help make dinner, and packing. I'm not sure what kind of access I'll have over the next five days, but I will do my best to keep the masses informed.