My friend and I took off on our road bikes. The dark clouds were threatening lightening bolts but at the moment the only thing coming down was welcoming droplets of cool water.
We were heading down the country roads of Old Snowmass, my old stomping grounds. The smell of sagebrush was in the air, sweeter and more intoxifying from the rain. It felt good to be back.
As we rode I tried to ignore the sharp pain in my right side increasing with every pedal stroke. The last time I experienced that pain I had to hitch a ride back after biking up to the Maroon Bells leading to the removal of my Gall Bladder. Why I was still having the pain was increasingly troubling.
We reached our destination, the Monastery, and I got off my bike, the pain felt like a knife stabbing me in my side, disabling me to straighten out my body. My friend with her sweet southern accent asked if we oughtnt try to hale down a car. Knowing that my choices were to either flag down the truck approaching or lie on the side of the shiny wet asphalt, I waved my arms.
The tinted window of the truck rolled down revealing a cowboy, his stained white cowboy hat sitting low on his head shading his bad ass sunglasses. Cut biceps flexed as he clutched the steering wheel. Everthin alright? he asked in a thick Nashville drawl, the tobacco bulge protruding from his cheek. My friend explained our situation and he loaded up our bikes and courteously opened the door for us to get in.
Clenched in pain, my senses intensified and I looked around at the rich leather seats of the truck that matched the saddle that I was leaning on. I breathed in and a stream of something sweet and strong wafted up my nose similar to Sage only more pungent, reminding me of the scent that occurs in certain pockets in Aspen where the medical marijuana dispensaries are located.? I remarked upon how good it smelled and my friend innocently agreed that she loved the smell of horses. I wasnt quite sure what it was that I was smelling but one thing was certain, it wasnt horses. Catching on, she suggested politely that it might be a good idea for me to smoke whatever it was to relieve the pain. The cowboy looked back to see me arching my back with the inability to sit comfortably and packed a beautiful glass pipe for me. I inhaled deeply and blew out a cloud of smoke followed by a coughing attack. The pain intensified and I worried that this poor cowboy might be taking me to the hospital.
Leaning against the saddle I felt something cold and metal against my skin and turned to see that it was a shotgun. I hope thats not loaded, I sputtered out, teetering dangerously on the edge of breaking out into hysterical giggles.
The cowboy kept checking in on me with concern but my concern was stronger as he took his eyes off of the road. Just the day before I saw my life flash before me when a mountain biker jumped over the ledge I was approaching. Swerving in the air to avoid me he crashed into the scrub oak, both of us ending miraculously unscathed. I floated to the decision that getting into a head on collision with another car would be a better fate than having my neck broken by a mountain biker.
Before he dropped us off he invited us to have a drink at the Brick Pony, a favorite place in Basalt for cowboys to sidle up to the bar, but I was soggy from the rain and foggy from the pot and unable to make any decisions and my friend had to go to work. He dropped me off at home and I stood there in the driveway unsure of what to do next. The pain had subsided but my mind was all abuzz. Now what? I could try to write and reach untapped recesses of my brain, I could talk to the maintenance guy fixing the drainage outside or I could just walk in circles. I did all three.
After writing I needed an ending to my story so I went out looking for my cowboy to buy him a drink and thank him for saving me. The scene I had envisioned of cowboys lined up at the Brick Pony’s bar was not happening. My cowboy was already gone. I sat on a bench outside wondering what to do in the final hours before my family returned from Breckenridge, when up swaggered my friend from my bike ride ready for a glass of wine and that was where we met our next cowboy.