Saya’s (age 6) quote of the day: “Not everybody has lots of people who love love love them. But Boo Boo did.”
In the spring of 1998, I rescued a small black kitten that had been abandoned. She was skittish at first, but before long was curling up against my chest to sleep snuggled up close each night. I named her Boo Boo. She was a constant presence over the years and a beloved companion, especially to Sho and Saya. When Sho developed a severe allergy to cats a few years ago, my brother Stuart brought Boo Boo into his house, where she received lots of love from Stuart and his daughters Bonnie and Alex. Stuart called me this morning to tell me that Boo Boo died late last night at the age of 15. Sho and Saya cried when they heard the news, and as we cycled today, we mourned her death. But we also talked about what a long, happy life she had.
Her death reminded me how quickly time seems to pass and that each phase of life holds little treasures, if you are willing to dig them out. We can spend so much energy holding grudges or feeling stuck and afraid of change, but those are just traps that keep us from truly living. As I wiped away my children’s tears and held them close, I said goodbye to Boo Boo and thanked her for the reminder to seek out the little treasures that surround us at every moment.
Sho, Saya and I got a treat as we left Missoula. Jim Sayer, Executive Director of the Adventure Cycling Association, and his daughter Samantha (a rising junior in high school), joined us for the first few hours of our ride toward Lolo Pass. In that short time, Saya became very attached to Samantha, and when it was time for Jim and Samantha to return home, Saya tried to convince them not to leave us. Jim told me stories of the many cycling trips he has taken all over the U.S. with his wife and three daughters, and he gave us helpful tips on our upcoming route. I was honored to share his company. I will always associate Missoula with the friendly folks at the Adventure Cycling Association – Arlen Hall hosted us for two nights in his home; Melissa Thompson took us tubing on the Clark Fork River and made us dinner; Greg Siple treated us like famous models in his photo session with our fully loaded bikes; Gage Poore gave us a tour of their offices; and Jim Sayer and his daughter gave us a personal escort out of town. We sure were treated well. No wonder this is my favorite organization. Check ‘em out: www.adventurecycling.org
Sho, Saya and I spent the afternoon cycling along the softly gurgling waters of Lolo Creek through land that was once home to the Nez Perce and Salish people, who had lived here for centuries before Lewis & Clark passed through. Lewis documented many plants and animals from this area that were new to Western science at the time, but well known, of course, to the Native Americans in the area. He described new birds such as the broad-tailed hummingbird, mourning dove, Steller’s Jay, and Lewis’ Woodpecker. And he wrote detailed descriptions of the western huckleberry, mountain lady’s slipper and grand fir tree, among others. So little was known about this part of North America that President Jefferson even told Lewis to look for mastadons. Sho and Saya swore they saw one behind a tree, but I wasn’t able to capture a photo before it disappeared.
Photos added on Aug 14: