Letting the Day Fill Me

Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.”)


When I woke this morning, it struck me I had nothing to do — no dance classes, no computer to work with or play on, no obligations — and I wondered how I would fill the empty day stretching in front of me.

As it turns out, it wasn’t a matter of my filling the day but of the day filling me. And what a day!

I started out with a walk to Lake Earl at the end of the street. I was disappointed there was no way around the lake so I came back and checked in with my friend. The mile and a half round trip walk had barely whetted my appetite, so she drove me to a nearby nature trail, The Lake Earl Coastal Trail, and dropped me off.

And oh my. Only a few steps into the trail told me the truth: I wasn’t in the desert any more. Ferns, moss, towering tree canopy, plants with immense leaves made me feel as if I were in the forest primeval. I had to keep stopping to take in the sounds, the smells, the wonder of it all.

I’ve been talking for years now about doing some sort of through hike, but I realized today I couldn’t do it. Even if I had the necessary skills, even if I were physically capable of carrying a heavy pack for all those months, the truth is, I wouldn’t finish. Instead of eating up the miles, I would pause to take photos, to take in the ambiance, to be. And that I can do anywhere, even on a mile-and-a-half nature trail, even on the mile trip along the road back to where I am staying.

If that weren’t enough activity for one day, we went to the beach. I saw pelicans flying, and I walked a bit on the California Coastal Trail. To be honest, it’s more of a designation than a trail, but still, I was there. More importantly, I was “here” when I was there.

Being here now, not thinking of the past, not thinking of what is to come. Isn’t that what it’s all about?

8 Responses to “Letting the Day Fill Me”

  1. Karen Says:

    I have lost my husband, my soul mate, the love of my life, the best part of me on 23 April 2015. I identify with the desert that you were in, cause I am thee right now. I don’t have to tell you that it is hell, you know that, you have experienced that. I love how you end this “being here now, not thinking of the past, not thinking of what is to come (with intense pain). Isn’t that what’s it all about?”. I pray to God that I may also get to that point one day…………………………….somehow.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      I am so very sorry. You are so very new to this thing called grief. There is just no way for you to fathom that things will be different, but I promise you, you will get to where I am, where every breath isn’t unbearably painful, where every heartbeat doesn’t bring you another moment of agony. It took me a long time — three years — before I could even imagine being happy again. And another two years before I got to where I was yesterday. I know I don’t have to tell you this will be the hardest thing you have ever done. Wishing you peace and eventually a renewed interest in life. Take care of yourself.

  2. Juliet Waldron Says:

    Pat B. communes with Nature! Yes, the Be Here Now of each moment, as you stand, surrounded by all that green and woody life. 🙂

  3. Kathy Says:

    So happy for you, Pat! I, too, need a break from the desert so I will be enjoying your adventure, too.

  4. Coco Ihle Says:

    What a beautiful day you had, Pat! Because of your past, you were especially able to appreciate it. I wish you many other days like this one.

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