Life on the Trail

I haven’t yet taken up my perennial pastime of long rambling walks, though on one lovely spring day I did follow a road out of town to see where it went. I didn’t go far, only a mile and a half or so, and what I saw was . . . a whole lot of things or a whole lot of nothings depending on your point of view. Mostly, there was the road bounded on both sides by brown-grass fields, an occasional field overrun with purple mustard (which smells like sour milk to me and melted crayons to other people).

A few creatures stopped to nod at me and welcome me to the neighborhood.

And at the beginning — and end — of my journey was the courthouse.

I am living on the Santa Fe Trail, though in this particular political climate, I’m not sure what to think about that. Is it something to brag about, be ashamed of, or ignored altogether? Whatever the truth, it’s hard to ignore the trail since some of the roads around here follow the trail, and there are reminders everywhere. (It’s odd to think how often I thought of living — backpacking — on a long trail, and here I am. Life seems to be something of a punster.)

I used to love history, no matter whose history it was, because it seemed to me past events and other cultures were an indication of who we are as a species, but nowadays, with accusations of “cultural appropriation” heaped even on youngsters decked out in tribal wear for Halloween, I’m not sure it’s wise to see myself other than what I am today. (Whatever that may be.)

It’s amazing to think I haven’t even been here a month. I’ve made friends. (Meet Butters, who loves my little awning.)

I’ve joined the art guild, made plans to go to a dinner theater put on by a local church, am getting to know a couple of street people, and frequently visit the library.

Next week, workers are supposed to come to do some repairs around the house, and I’m hoping that this time, next week will actually come. (He’s been promising “next week” for weeks now.) It would be nice to finish unpacking, though I am getting used to making my way around the maze of my belongings.

As for today, well . . . when I finish here, I’ll fix asparagus in my new asparagus steamer (a housewarming gift) in my new kitchen and read a new book from the library.

Life on the Trail is good.


Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.

8 Responses to “Life on the Trail”

  1. Lovey Says:

    Hi Pat! Glad to read that you are settling in little by little. Soon I’m sure – it will really feel like home. Nice that you joined the art guild – always helps to join organizations – makes you feel like you really belong. I admire your pioneer spirit, and having the courage to go to a totally unknown place. I could never do that – especially alone. How far away are you from where you were living before? Is Butters a new cat, or did you bring him with you?

    Enjoy reading about your new life style, and adventures. (I love asparagus, too!) It helps those of us who have lost their spouse/life partner that it is possible to go on to new places, or do new things, even though they’re’ not here to share it with us.

    Little by little I am making changes in my house, since I lost my husband 2 yrs & 8 months ago. Just had the bathroom floor re-tiled, and am rearranging some furniture. 2 yrs ago I got a new garage door & outdoor painting done, added some new drapes etc., in addition to putting in my outdoor frog pond 2 years ago, and an addition to my existing deck. I also had a stand-by generator installed – this area has a lot of power outages, and being by myself, I want to be able to take care of myself & my animals as much as possible on my own. 5 aquariums of fish aren’t going to last too long without heat in the middle of winter. With every addition or change – there is a little hesitation, or sadness that he isn’t here to share it with me. Sometimes I’ll ask “How do you like this new space Honey?” As if I expect him to answer. I don’t know how that is in the afterlife, if they can see us here in this realm, but – knowing my husband, he’d approve, and even be proud of how I have managed to go on. It’s just me that can’t believe it yet, that he is gone.

    Will be waiting for your next report!!! I’m proud of you, Pat!

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      Butters is the neighbor’s cat. A house is enough of a “pet” for me right now. I’ve never wanted the responsibility, but apparently this was the right time.

      I am about 195 miles from where I was born and grew up. About 320 miles from where Jeff and I lived. About 1000 miles from where I’ve been living the past nine years.

      You may not have moved to a new place where you don’t know anyone, but you have your own version of the pioneer spirit. It’s amazing how well you are doing and even more amazing how much you are doing. I’m sure it doesn’t feel that way from where you are standing, buy I truly admire that you are remaking your home to fit your new lifestyle. It is true that we have to look out for the women we will become since there is no one but us to do it. It’s nice to know someone is on the same sort of track that I am on. It’s always good to feel one is not alone.

      I don’t really talk to Jeff much any more, though, like you, I sometimes ask how he likes what I am doing.

      Best of luck with all your upgrades. As always, wishing you peace.

  2. Jan Blondet Says:

    Hi Pat, Do you miss seeing the rocky outcrops of our desert? Quite a difference on your walks now. After 33 years in the same home,I have to admit to being a little envious…a new house, new surroundings, new friends. I think you are one lucky lady. Miss you!

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      I never considered myself lucky, but I am beginning to see the truth of it. Today, anyway, I feel lucky. A whole new life opening for me! Wow! No rocky outcrops (which I do miss) but also no hills (which I don’t really miss.) I miss you and dance class, of course, but I couldn’t find a way to have it all. But I do have a car, and AV is only 1000 miles away.

  3. Charlotte M. Liebel Says:

    Dear, Dear Pat,
    I am so excited for you and enjoyed your photos ~ they were a bonus because I would love to have taken this walk alongside you.
    And isn’t it great that you have a tagalong cat and don’t have the responsibility of ownership? Am so happy for you. Enjoy!
    Have a wonderful week.
    Charlotte M. Liebel

  4. rami ungar the writer Says:

    Beautiful photos. And Butters is cute.

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