It’s 7:00a Sunday morning. I should be freaking out. In less than 24 hours, I load mule Polly on to my trailer and we head to Colorado. That’s 1,500 miles way from North Carolina. We don’t have a clue where we’re staying each of the 4 nights on the road. Instead of panicking, I’m going to paint my wagon.
This is the wagon from the Lost Sea Expedition, the Public TV series about mule Polly and my 14 month voyage from Canada to Mexico. Since I built it, Polly has pulled it thousands of miles. It’s crossed the South Dakota Badlands, been man-hauled across a Texas bridge and served as a fancy nesting site for the phoebe in my barn.
Yeah, it could stand a coat of paint.
Thing is, I don’t have time to paint the whole rig. Instead, I’ll give the roof, back wall and wagon shafts another coat of Danger Yellow. These are the parts that fade the most.
I know, it seems a funny idea, even a distraction, to set out to paint a wagon right before a big trip. That’s sort of like NASA deciding they need to paint the letters “NASA” on the side of the space shuttle the day before take-off.
Okay, maybe that’s overstating the case. Thing is, I find painting really relaxing. There’s something hypnotic about laying on fresh paint. The silky drag on the brush. How, when the brush hairs smooth the paint, for a fleeting second, there is perfection in the world. There are no blemishes, just a perfect reflective finish.
Then the gnats start passing out in the paint. The mosquitoes decide they need to rest their wings on that shiny patch of yellow. The ants drag their bodies through what, moments ago, was perfection.
Okay, now I’m panicking….a little. In less than 24 hours, mule Polly and I take to the open road in our truck and trailer. We plan to drive from western North Carolina to Nashville, about 400 miles way. I still don’t know where we’re sleeping.
Hey, know anybody in the Nashville area with a farm where I could picket Polly out Monday night? Contact me. Seriously….! I’ll even let them check out my new paint job.
Post Script: Nashville lodgings found. Thanks to all the folks that reached out to mule Polly and me with a place to stay,