The Moments We Are Given and the Moments We Make

Ever since I started researching trails and such, Facebook has been posting ads on my feed about hikes. Which is nice. I like to know about new trails. The problem is that so often the ad is a “you pay me” deal. For example, one of today’s offerings was about hikes for people over fifty. For a whole heck of a lot of money (most of the ones I have checked out cost thousands of dollars), you can take one of their hikes.

Huh? If you want to hike, just hike. It costs nothing. There are hundreds of thousands of miles trails in the USA alone, trails of all levels of difficulty and distance. Pick a trail. Go. Put your right foot in front of the left, switch your weight, then put the left foot in front of the right and repeat for as long as you wish to hike.

That’s it. That’s all you have to do.

If you don’t want to hike alone, there are thousands of hiking groups to join. And if you don’t know anything about hiking, most of the people in those groups are willing to help.

Or you could come hike with me. Several people I know have already expressed an interest in joining me on an adventure. Apparently, my mission, to the extent that I have a mission, is changing from encouraging people to embrace their grief to encouraging them to embrace their wildness.

I can live with that.

I believe we are all too tame. Too used to comfort and relative safety. Too used to thinking we control our environment. A walk on the wild side is good for the soul. Meeting the challenges of an adventure is good for the mind. Just being outside when everyone else is inside is good for the spirit.

Last night, I woke after only three hours of sleep, and as I lay there, I found myself fretting. (It’s not something I am proud of because it’s so childish, but I have a hard time dealing with one woman in dance class who talks incessantly. You know how you get a song stuck in your head? I get her voice stuck in my head. And I don’t know how to resolve the problem. So I fret and ponder and try to find a way to accept the situation, but so far, I haven’t been able to find a solution short of quitting, and I don’t want to do that.)

And suddenly I remembered: lunar eclipse!!!

I put on slippers and a jacket and went outside. Although the moon was supposed to be already in the penumbra of the earth, I only saw that very bright full moon. The next time I checked the moon (still more than an hour from totality), I saw only a crescent of brightness beneath the red. So I stood out there and watched the blue moon become a blood moon. (Odd, isn’t it, that this month’s blue moon is actually red?)

The wonder of that sight is with me still, and has eclipsed my very mundane (and so unadmirable) problem.

Of such moments are adventures made. There’s no need to spend a fortune. We just need to be present in the moments we are given and the moments we make.

So simple, yet so hard to do.


Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels UnfinishedMadame ZeeZee’s Nightmare, Light BringerMore Deaths Than OneA Spark of Heavenly Fireand Daughter Am IBertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

2 Responses to “The Moments We Are Given and the Moments We Make”

  1. Terry Allard Says:

    Good morning Pat! I find it inspiring to be simultaneously reading both your current and your past grief posts…a bit like reading a book from both ends. I particularly related the one from today and the one below written on 2/9/13. I wonder if this desire to do this trip has taken five years to grow? I wonder if spontaneously running outside to see the moon wasn’t as spontaneous as it appears….actually it began years ago in thoughts expressed as to what “dowager” might mean. If so it gives me some hope that I will someday again truly feel alive.
    The Dower House of Grief (excerpt):
    Unlike the dowagers of old, the exile in our dower house of grief will come to an end, and then what? Most of us long for freedom and the resources to enjoy it. As one bereft friend says, “We need adventure and excitement and something different. A change of scenery, throwing caution to the wind or anything to get us “out of the parking lot” of our lives (which a friend claimed I’m stuck in).”
    Maybe what we need is to embrace dowagerhood. Despite the definition of dowager as an elderly widow who behaves with dignity, I always had the impression of a dowager as a not-so-old, imperious and outspoken woman in outrageous hats, who sailed through life like an icebreaker, pushing ahead regardless of whatever obstacles floated in her path. Sounds good to me.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      Sometimes my writing amazes me — I love that description of a dowager! I’d forgotten it. Yes, you will feel alive again. I promise. It just takes so very long. As for the slow build up to adventure — it has been building. I keep thinking that I will get over it, but since it seems such an adjunct to grief — the next step to making us feel alive again — it might be here to stay.

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