Christine was the first one up as usual, sitting by the window in the big empty kitchen. She was frowning at her laptop, one hand sleepily stirring her maté.

"Satellite's on the fritz again."

I go to the window, press my nose against the cold glass. It was dawn. The pampas were grey and brown in the half-light, rays tracing the ridgeline, glinting off our big white dish. Christine slid a mug into my hand. Warm.

"I'll go check it out."

- - -

I slip my boots on, clomp towards the stables. The house was waking up around me, filling with yawns and groans, the faint hum of various devices booting, the almost-inaudible collective gasp of noders denied their morning fix. I grin, one hand on the doorknob, then shove out into the yard.

Here, the only sound is a restless wind stirring our pair of silk banderas, celeste y blanca, half-lost against the sky— two bars of blue and a blazing sun, beneath it a single word, in Spanish: [ TODO ].


- - -

I reach the barn, grab a bag of fresh oats for Tina. Run a brush through her hair, coal-black flecked with silver. Remembering when she was born, the first foal on the ranch. ("What should we name her?" "Dunno. What's the Latin word for 'silver'?")

- - -

Halfway to the ridge, I wheel her around, watch the sun rise over our little estancia.

We never planned to come here to Patagonia. But after the '08 election, the droughts, the bombings... North America just kept getting worse and worse. Even Kansas became unbearable.

So we packed up the whole community, drove south, kept going. It was the right call. We prospered.

So. Here I am, 8 years later, south of Bariloche on a horse named “Argentina”, and singing to myself.