It was fifteen years ago that we first met the honorary Godesses. Since then, this amazing group of ladies have visited us every year during the month of April. Many months prior to their visit, Raul and I anticipate their arrival with affectionate eagerness as anyone would when family and friends come home after a long time away.
April has always been, Goddess season. It’s the season when these lovely, ladies known as the Goddesses come to ride, relax, laugh and share with each other, and with us their incredible human spirits.
They’ve seen our children grow up and they’ve seen Raul and I grow up as well. They were there when we transitioned through big changes in our lives. Their support and friendship during all these years was one of the main instigators which propelled Raul and I forward on many ocassions and we are extremely grateful they are a part of our lives.
During the past 15 years, memorable events stand out in our minds. We’ve ridden together over rough terrain and into deep canyons with only the light of the moon and the stars to guide our way. With our fingers frozen and curled around the reins, we’ve ridden through cold and fog. Narly branches have ripped and tore at our clothing but never once did they hold us back from continuing our journey. It takes much more than that to hold down a Goddess!
This past weekend was our 16th anual Goddess visit. Raul and I were very happy because it rained all weekend. We sure needed it. But do you think a little rain derailed the Goddess group? Absolutely not. They rode everyday, rain or shine and they enjoyed every moment.
The first morning Mrs. B, our trip organizer and lead Goddess, walked up the hill to the sign for her morning exercise before the ride. She’s an avid walker and carries a Fitbit (pedometer) with her to mark her paces. I know now, that from the cabins to the top of our hill is the exact equivalent to 40 flights of stairs! Just for the record, she did it in no time at all and came back pleasantly flushed around the cheeks, ready to hit the trail.
Dinner the night before was Pescado Veracruzana which is bass cooked in white wine, garlic and butter covered with a red vegetable sauce and accompanied with steamed vegetables, savory brown rice and fresh, green dinner salad on the side. One thing our returning guests have learned to do while at the ranch is pace themselves when it comes to meals. The food at Rancho La Bellota is healthy, and hardy. After a good day on the trail it’s easy to work up and appetite! Of course after dinner, Raul took everyone into the bar area for his famous Tequila Tasting Tour where he shared different types of tequila, his prized collection with everyone.
Each day, Raul set out with the Goddesses on trails filled with beautiful, vast scenery and with that came a sense of jubilant, freedom, no matter where they were. That’s what happens while riding at La Bellota. People’s worries and concerns seem to slide right off the shoulders and melt away into the landscape as one rides further into the mountains, or down into the valleys and canyons. The rythmic sound of horses hooves as they make their way down the trail lulls one into pleasant relaxation while the rustle of brush and the varying scents that rise to meet us; sage, artemisia, and buckwheat pleasantly fill the lungs and senses.
On the last night, we dined on Bistek Ranchero, beef with vegetables in a red sauce, a traditional Mexican ranch dish, over a nopal leaf, fresh beans with cheese, rice, guacamole and homemade flour tortillas all congruent with a constant flow of delicious wines to accompany the meal.
While enjoying their dinner, Raul and I arranged for a private concert with Professional Spanish Guitarist and Musician, Gerrardo Valderama who so beautifully played for us while dinning, and afterwards we retired to the living room for a full concert of the most amazing Spanish Guitar I’ve ever heard. Sr. Valderama is a master at what he does. It was a special event for us, one that we hoped the Goddesses would enjoy. Sr. Valderama’s presence was the icing on the cake which made it all the more so. He even turned down an invitation with the governor so he could come play at Rancho La Bellota. That’s pretty special!
The Goddesses were very happy with all that transpired that evening and this of course made Raul and I very happy too. Raul absolutely loves this type of music and I must admit, his face beamed the entire time!
Finally, the dreaded day came when it was time to say goodbye. At Rancho La Bellota, there is always an unanimous vote. No one wants to leave, but unfortunatley, it must be done. On this last morning, there was no mention of goodbyes until Mrs. B gave the word.
Instead, we casually enjoyed our morning coffee outside on the kitchen porch which never lacked for a topic of conversation, or an amusing story for an added dosage of picturesque humor. The morning pressed on but no one seemed concerned. The truth is we wanted this special time with the Goddesses to go on but as reality comes knocking on one’s door, it was soon time to go.
With the suburban loaded and ready to roll to the Tecate, Ca. border, I waved and watchd Raul drive them away. I knew by the feeling of calm and peace inside me that those ladies, and I’d like to say this is true of everyone who visits us; brought with them an extra dose of happiness, friendship and comraderie to the ranch and for Raul and I, this is what truly gives us the courage to work harder, and to persevir with our dream of creating our own heaven on earth.