Imagine having breakfast at this Cafe every morning. When I woke up yesterday, the sun was shining brightly and there was not a single cloud in the sky. The air was crisp and Boris the Toad was croaking on and on about how amazing the waterlily flowers were looking. They opened in front of our eyes.
Andrew and I shared a bowl of cherries, raspberries, blueberries and strawberries out on his beautiful floating cafe. I even learned a new party trick – splitting an apple with my bare hands! (Although Andrew, when you read this… I tried again this morning, and I think this is a skill that really needs cultivation. I had to resort to a knife for the fruit salad. My paws just weren’t strong enough today!) The pond was a great place for contemplation & discussion. I really relished in the quiet atmosphere. The only sounds other than our conversation were Boris the Toad and the military airplanes occasionally zooming overhead (!?!).
The plan for the day involved riding from Lincoln to Raphael and Larissa’s home in Orford. Laris decided she wanted to join on the ride, so Raphael shuttled her bike up to Lincoln, took 3 of my 4 panniers and Laris and I set out for the 40 mile ride. This picture is of the four of us just before Laris and I departed Lincoln. Thank you again infinitely for the introduction to Lincoln and for your hospitality, Andrew! I hope you find many amazing waves to surf, and your Noodles in the near future!
There was something amazing about biking with Laris. Much like my time biking with Ben, it was wonderful to be able to share the highs and lows with someone experiencing the same thing. We biked slowly at first because my legs just did not want to move. Leaving Lincoln we met a relatively long uphill that burned our legs like crazy. After that, the rolling hills of NH provided great scenery and many photo opportunities.
We met a cow taking care of her little chickies.
We stopped at Windy Ridge apple orchard/ blueberry picking ground. We had cider donuts, blueberries & coffee. I felt like Benny from the Boxcar Children. I could’ve tucked myself under the bench for a bit of a nap, I was so content.
One of the best parts of riding with Larissa was that we were not in a hurry. We took our time, smelled the air, commented on the cows, caught up on life news, and stopped frequently. When I am by myself, I try to allow myself to stop whenever I feel like it, but part of me inevitably wants to push on. I need to be reminded that the journey isn’t just about arriving, but about all the little things you see along the way. With a biking buddy the mental commentary about road conditions, traffic, flowers, etc. becomes a much welcome dialogue. The best part for me was struggling up a hill and hearing her voice saying, “You’re doing awesome, Flavia!” Right back at you, Larissa! I’ll keep imagining her voice behind me on hills, just like I often think of another friend/former housemate Caitlin who, after particularly stressful days in the classroom would say in a sing-song voice, “Mama always said there would be days like this…” I love how all these little bits of life wisdom/inspiration find their way into your mind when you are pushing against your mental limits. Thank you, friends!
We arrived in Orford around 5:30pm to find Raphael hard at work in the kitchen. We shared an amazing dinner out on their porch with his kids and their puppy Dutch. The food was delicious and energizing and almost entirely local. Orford is beautiful farm country, and Laris and Raphael are making quick work of finding their favorite local farmers to support.
After 6 days of riding, day 7 will be my first off-day. I’m hoping to help Laris in her garden, rest my muscles, catch up on email, etc. Thank you all for your comments and support so far!