I am Where I Am

It’s been a strange couple of days. On Saturday, when I left the house where I was staying and headed out, I started crying. It mystified me because I was glad to leave that place. I’d been invited, and I paid rent, but I never felt welcome, felt as if the dog’s dislike of me was an imposition for them even though I was the one who bore the scars of his dislike. And it’s not as if I were leaving that town forever. I fully intend to resume dance classes once I’ve completed my journey. So why the tears? All I can figure is that with tears I express whatever I can’t express any other way.

On Sunday, I went on an arduous 4-mile hike in Joshua Tree National Park despite the incredible wind, and when I returned to my campsite, I felt as if it was time to end the journey. After all, I’d camped by myself, challenged myself with a difficult and exhausting hike, napped under the stars.

I can’t say I particularly enjoyed all of that, but it is adventure, and adventure is what I once craved. Maybe still do. But it’s hard for me to crave what I am doing. (Think about it. If you crave a pizza, do you still crave it while you are eating it?)

You’d think I’d be ecstatic to finally undertake this journey, but to a certain extent it feels . . . not empty but devoid of excitement. In one way, this is good — it means I’ve accomplished what I set out to do after Jeff died. Since he was my home, I had to find home within myself. And so I did. I am wherever I am, and wherever I am, I am home. (In the interest of fairness, I have to admit that despite what I just said, I get a bit panicky when I think of the immense distances I will be traveling, and how far I will be getting from all that is familiar.) In another way, lack of excitement is not so good. Shouldn’t I be beside myself with joy to be embarking on such an adventure? But ah, that is the key. I am not beside myself. I am in myself.

Don’t get me wrong. I am glad to be on this great adventure, glad to be able to experience this vast country, but it’s a quiet kind of gladness, an acceptance that things will not always be comfortable, not always fun.

But always beautiful.


(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.”)


All of these photos depict parts of the trail I hiked, including the photo that looks like all rocks.

8 Responses to “I am Where I Am”

  1. Constance Says:

    The photos show the scenery for memories. What a Photo Album you will have when you finish your journey.
    Try to relax and enjoy. Don’t be sad. Tomorrow is always a new day.
    Will be following you on your journey. You are seeing and doing what I cannot do.

  2. Juliet Waldron Says:

    Love you long distance, Pat B. Your bravery, strength and determination are an inspiration to me. Thanks for sharing, tears, pain, joy and hikes! 🙂

  3. Malcolm R. Campbell Says:

    One good thing about your journey is that it’s an expedient way for us to see some pictures of places we haven’t seen and places we haven’t been to for a long time.

  4. leesis Says:

    now my friend you are truly rudderless. There is an aloneness, a sense of ‘what am i doing’, a sense of no connection, no belonging, a sense of smallness in the overwhelming largeness of ‘out there’. All the stuff we fill our lives with are now absent to you. That is the adventure :). I wonder how you will feel and what you will discover about you? Emotionally vulnerable certainly but it seems to me thats when we learn so much more. xx

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      Ah, Leesa. You always say the right thing to put me back on track. I know instinctively this is what I need to be doing now, but I am glad I don’t have a place in reserve to go back to. It helps keep me going forward. It’s also a good thing I don’t need to make sense of it all now. All I need to do is experience whatever comes my way.

      It’s sort of funny – I’ve been thinking about such a quest and planning for the journey for so long that it seems rather ordinary. But itis anything but. At least for me.

      • leesis Says:

        no, not ordinary. Extraordinary. You’ve chosen the road less traveled and whilst it is a more challenging road you will make so many discoveries. Be curious Pat..and gentle on your self, allowing the emotions to come and be felt but also questioning…always! Because Life Matters remember :)!

  5. Terri Says:

    Great photos, Pat. You make it what you make it! Enjoy every minute! Hugs!

  6. Coco Ihle Says:

    We are all learning through you, Pat.

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