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Part 3: Mount Madonna
On the far side of the village, on our way home now, we pass through fields and farms and chaparral-covered hills on our way into Mt. Madonna. Near the top of a ridge the trees grow massive and line our passage like watching Ents. When it drops down, the road changes to hard-packed gravel – fast, dirty and fun.
Miles and miles of agriculture, nurseries and shifting winds sometimes lead and sometimes follow us west. It’s mostly flat until a deep green hill covered in trees and shrouded in thick fog signals our imminent return. Back in the world, we make our way north in a trance, past the cars and business and schools and centers and communities. It’s growing dark and things are strange but good with us as we quietly march on the promise of food and hot water.
On the porch we leave everything; shoes and bikes, empty wrappers and bottles, helmets and gloves. They have been our sole possessions for the last day – it feels like a week. Covered in salt and sweat and dirt, they are abandoned for the moment.
Inside, at the table, Ryan pours another shot and passes the bottle and we all sink into the furniture, smiling. Happy Birthday, Ryan.