I bumped into Johanna and her sister Heidi at the cafe in Garberville and spent the night on Heidi’s couch. In the morning, I came back to Johanna’s for breakfast and found a sizzling stove in a kitchen filled with curious kids. For the first time in weeks, the sun was out, and I was excited to take the road south from where I had stopped at Richardson Grove.
A few miles south, I crossed the county line into Mendocino; I had been in Humboldt County since mid-November. Reflecting on all that had happened since shook me into sudden shellshock as I crossed the bridge and I found myself emotionally overwhelmed. Up ahead, a group of people walked on the highway towards me and I reacted in sudden fear, drifting to the far side of the empty country road, until I recognized a distinctive orange: it was real Indians! Immediately, I reclaimed the center of the road and approached them confidently. They were students at a year-long Hindu retreat and invited me in to drink chai and eat ladoos and discuss philosophy and bobble my head, and as I put down my bag, I thanked India silently for finding me when I needed her.
Later that night, a knock on a door led me an offer of a warm place to stay and wonderful conversation with Tony and Georgi in Piercy. It felt good to be on the road again.