Wonder Stump Road

I was standing at a crossroads yesterday, checking Maps on my phone to see where an alleyway snaking beneath a canopy of trees ended up, when a woman stopped and said a few teasing words. I turned around. She did a double take, then apologized, saying I look exactly like her friend Sue. She told me her name was Maggie, I told her my name, then she asked where I was going. “Somewhere,” I replied. “Anywhere.”

She pointed to a street behind us and asked if I’d ever been down Wonder Stump Road. When I said no, she suggested I go that way, adding that part of Return of the Jedi had been filmed there. She drove off, and I headed up Wonder Stump Road. Not that I cared where the movie was filmed, but when the universe (or Maggie) gives you a gift, you take it.

And oh, what a gift!

The tree-lined road started out pleasant enough. Quiet, with lots to see, such as the wonderful stump of a long dead redwood. And then the road became spectacular. A natural cathedral of timeless towering trees. I felt awed that I was even there, on that otherworldly road so far from home, so far from . . . me. It’s as if I didn’t have a separate existence, but was merely the awareness of the moment.

If, as I someimes believe, that we are how the universe experiences itself, then I returned its gift tenfold.


(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.”)


10 Responses to “Wonder Stump Road”

  1. Juliet Waldron Says:

    A gift from the Universe, definitely! Thanks for sharing! Gaia speaks–at least I can hear her in those pictures.

  2. Coco Ihle Says:

    WOW, Pat! What a treat!!! Amazing how that happened!!!

  3. Kathy Says:

    Loving your adventure so far – reminding me of my Northern California and Oregon adventures!

  4. Malcolm R. Campbell Says:

    Nice to have an unofficial tour guide show up at the right moment.

  5. Patzilla Says:

    Exquisite. Thank you.

  6. leesis Says:

    Ah Pat how cool. When you first spoke of your desire to wander I was so supportive of it because it seemed to me, after all you have experienced, that only on a journey of risk which opens up to discovery about…ah crap everything…our self, others, the planet, truth lies, character and hopefully an increasing depth and joy that ya be here. That you Pat, with no responsibilities to others can discover herself. By the way…you have only been able to take this journey and be open to Wonder Stump Road because you initially had the courage to grieve…and grieve honestly. With serious pleasure in your current moments 🙂 xx

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      It doesn’t seem as if I am going anywhere with all this adventuring, but then, it never seemed as if I were going anywhere with grief, either. It also doesn’t seem as if I am taking risks, but that could be because by the time I start something new, I’ve already changed into the person who can do it. Maybe it will be in hindsight that I realize I’ve discovered something. Or it could be, as with grief, it takes a very long time for changes — and truth — to manifest themselves.

      • leesis Says:

        its not about “going anywhere”…its about soaking it in. Soak in the places, the people, learn all you can. I have a fantasy of visiting the worlds greatest libraries (boring for most apparently). I wouldn’t expect to change from it. I just want to soak them in. And when I do change happens…sometimes startling ones sometimes ones that sneak up on you and you arent aware of the change for sometime. But I am in no way saying you need to change Pat! Only you know if there’s parts of you that need changing. I’ve met none :). I’m excited that you a on a discovery journey. And I hope that nature feeds you, that people make you laugh or learn, and that you fin you can feel comfortable and right in the world with just you. x

        • Pat Bertram Says:

          It’s good to hear from you, Leesa, and especially good when you say things I need to hear. Last night I had a bout of homesickness and feeling foolish, wondering what the heck I’m doing, just wandering around various places. “Doing” is what I am doing. It’s always been (at least partly) about feeling at home wherever I am and whatever I am doing, and apparently I am not there yet. All part of the process, I suppose.

           I don’t necessarily feel I need to change — it’s more about growing, expanding what I can know and feel, becoming ever wiser, stronger, braver, kinder. It’s a goal for a lifetime, not something that happens over night.

          It’s kind of funny — even if I were to achieve that exalted state, I’m not sure I’d know it. From my experience with the elderly, it seems as if until we hit a very great age — sometime in our nineties — we always feel the same. Like ourselves. But still, whether I feel any expansiveness or not, in the light of day, I know it’s what I need.

          Visiting the greatest libraries, especially the locked away old stacks sounds like a wonderful fantasy, one that I share. Just to wander among the shelves, feeling the weight of a world of knowledge. Oh my.

          Thank you, as always.

  7. Carol Louise Wilde Says:

    I’ve always thought that redwood forests are nature’s cathedrals. Great pics!

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