Feeling Old

I had a rather cryptic e-conversation with a therapist friend who recently attended a grief workshop. She mentioned that they stressed things I’ve written about but aren’t commonly known, such as there being no way to do grief wrong (it might be painful, but it isn’t wrong). She said I was ahead, and that this wasn’t the first time.

I responded, “It’s nice to know. But then, I already knew.”

She came back with, “Yes, you did. And I am sorry you had to learn.”

I was about to agree that I was also sorry that I had to learn about grief the hard way, then I realized how remote all those years of grief seem now, so I wrote back, “It’s funny, but it was so long ago, none of it seems to matter anymore, except, of course, for the part about Jeff being dead. That will always matter to me.”

She agreed, “Except, of course, about Jeff, that will always matter. I feel that about many things.” Then we come to the cryptic part. She ended by saying, “Maybe it is age, maybe perspective, but I am feeling many things not felt before.”

I’m not sure what she meant by that final sentence, but it got me thinking about the things I feel now that I have not felt before, and only one thing came to mind: I feel old. That’s sounds so terrible, but it really isn’t. I don’t feel old as in decrepit or sick or helpless, but old as in a different era of my life.

When we were young, the old seemed separate from us, as if they’d never been like us, as if they’d always been old. Most of us were smart enough to know that wasn’t true, but since we’d never seen the elderly when they were young, it seemed true. The other side of that feeling is that we never really thought we ourselves would cross that line from youth to old age. Most young people feel they are different from the elderly, that they will be the exception and will remain forever young. Well, I certainly wasn’t the exception, and now the line has been crossed and I am on the side of the elderly.

Oddly, just as I’d imagined the elderly when I was young, as if they’d always been old, that’s how I feel. As if I’ve always been old. My youth is now as distant and as unimaginable as old age once was. That girl I was, that young woman, that half of a couple, that griever are all lost in the past and no longer seem to have anything to do with the woman I am today.

I don’t think this feeling is a bad thing since it is what it is. It doesn’t feel negative, anyway. It’s just an acknowledgement of a different time of life. The whole maiden, mother, crone trilogy, perhaps. My mother stage sort of came first because as the oldest girl of a rather large family, I so often had to take care of the younger kids. My crone stage came in having to shepherd Jeff and my parents out of this world — a midwife to the dying, so to speak. What’s left is the maiden stage, and that’s not happening. Though in a way, it is. Buying my first house so late in life, starting over in a new place. Just . . . starting. That is all part of the maiden era.

People often talk as if the elderly are simply youngsters in a decaying body, and that might be true for some people, but that isn’t true for me. Despite my facetiousness about going through my “maiden era,” I don’t feel the child in me struggling to escape the burden of age. I feel ageless, or perhaps I feel more as if being my age — the age I am right now —is the right age. And so it was during all the “right now”s of my life. (Meaning that whatever age I was, that was the right age for me at that time.)

The bad part of being old is that the body is wearing down and wearing out. Weird little things happen, such as rolling over in bed and suddenly the knee is out of whack and you can’t walk or your trusty immune system doesn’t work as well or things slide down the wrong tube when swallowing. But even these matters don’t seem so much a part of growing old as of . . . entropy, perhaps.

I might change my mind about all this as I slip from a young elderly age into an older elderly age, but whatever happens, I hope I can continue to see the aging process as just another phase of the adventure we call life. After all, that’s how I tried to deal with grief: accepting it as much as possible as another experience — a rather painful experience (to put it mildly) but no less valid than the pleasant times.

Just as our culture seems to frown on people who admit to feeling grief, as if grief is failing, it seems to frown on people who admit to feeling old, as if that too is a failing. But I didn’t hesitate to admit to feeling sad, so I certainly am not going to hesitate to admit I feel old. It’s just the way life is. And it’s just the way I am.

***

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.

Road Trip

Friends and family who visit Denver don’t make the trek out here to visit me, nor do I go to Denver to see them. The trip is a few miles short of 200 miles, so it seems doable, and yet, oh, my, what a long drive it is! You’d think it would be a nice drive considering that the highway skirts the foothills in spots, but it isn’t.

Oh, there is an occasional lovely view out the window, such as snowy mountain scenes

or the Air Force Academy,

but mostly, there are miles and miles and miles of traffic and housing developments and immense shopping areas full of immense stores. In fact, once we hit I-25, we saw relatively few empty miles. I know the growth shouldn’t have shocked me, because after all, the out-of-control growth is the reason I moved to the western slope and now to the sparsely populated southeastern corner of the state, but signs of unchecked growth still surprised me in certain areas. One town that was practically non-existent when I was young had grown to 10,000 by the time I left the front range and is now up to 80,000 and still growing rapidly. Yikes.

We didn’t have time (nor did I have the inclination) to visit my old neighborhood, but the neighborhood we did go to was reminiscent of areas I was familiar with —

a mansion or two surrounded by a lot of smaller houses.

I was glad to for a chance to walk a bit, stretching my legs, and getting a feel for the neighborhood as we headed to a

for a tasty lunch. (I had a half of a Philly steak sandwich and sweet potato fries) and then we continued back to the car on a roundabout route that took us past a Masonic Temple. (Denver always seemed to be a stronghold for Masons, but that’s just my perception and not necessarily the reality.)

The trip back home took us again through those same three cities, with a stop at the Peterson Air Force Base. Oh, excuse me. Google informs me that it is now the Peterson Space Force Base.

The highlight of the trip, of course, was being able to spend time with my friends, but a close second was being able to see the stars so bright in the dark skies. One of my friends lives outside of town where there is no light pollution, and since there was no moon when we stopped by her place at the end of the trip, those stars sure shone on that black obsidian backdrop!

Although I enjoyed the day, it was so exhausting that I have a hunch it will be a long time before I take another road trip. I do know that I will no longer feel slighted if people don’t make it out here to see me. This really is the back of the beyond, and a long way from where I once lived.

***

What if God decided S/He didn’t like how the world turned out, and turned it over to a development company from the planet Xerxes for re-creation? Would you survive? Could you survive? If you haven’t yet read this book, now is the time to buy since it’s on sale.

Click here to buy Bob, The Right Hand of God.

An Itch to Camp

I just finished a book where the characters went camping in the mountains, and it made me itch to go camping again. The fact that the campers in the novel ended up dead or maimed didn’t affect that yearning, and maybe even made it stronger for some perverse reason — perhaps for the feeling of putting in a total effort, pitting oneself against nature. Chances of my ending up with a wilderness guide who is also a serial killer like the characters in the book aren’t that great especially since I never used a guide on any of my treks, and probably never would.

The book I am reading now takes place not far from the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, which is intensifying the camping itch. I so enjoyed that area that it was one of the few places where I extended my stay. Not only did it feel as if I were living in a southwestern botanical garden, but I met some interesting people. One woman, who was the age I am now, more or less stayed there all winter, even though there is a limit to how long you can stay at one time. The people running the place let her stay because the place wasn’t packed, and because of her financial situation, I think. She camped out for long periods of time because she was alone and her teacher’s pension didn’t afford her enough money to live otherwise. I often thought I would do what she did, and in fact I’d planned on it, figuring I would go north in the summer and south in the winter, but fate intervened and I ended up with a permanent place to stay.

Despite the itch, I will probably never go camping again, though “never” is a long time. For now, I’m still enamored of my house, and don’t particularly want to spend a night away (I’d worry more about the house than my own safety, which seems a recipe for disaster). But as time goes on, and the feeling of newness wanes while the feeling that the house will still be safe waxes, I might head for the hills.

Although I stopped at many campgrounds on the cross-country trip I took several years ago, I didn’t visit any of the most prominent national parks, such as Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon. And while I took several trips back to Colorado when I was away, I didn’t camp out here either. So there are a lot of unlived adventures if I ever want to answer the itch.

Apparently, despite my saying “never” to camping, I haven’t totally given up the idea since I’ve kept all my camping gear — all the big and heavy stuff for campground camping and all the super lightweight stuff for backpacking.

It’s funny, though, how different things are when you are leading an intermittent nomadic life (periods of staying in one place punctuated by periods of being on the move). I was able to take chances back then because I was still under the influence of grief and felt I had nothing to lose, so any worry about driving a car that’s a half century old into remote areas was shoved to the back of my mind. Now that particular worry doesn’t want to be shoved. And rightly so, perhaps.

But who knows. I might be considered elderly (statistically speaking), but I’m still a young elderly and haven’t yet reached my dotage, so many things are still possible. Perhaps even camping.

***

Pat Bertram is the author of intriguing fiction and insightful works of grief.

Adventurous Trek

I was awakened when the day was just breaking by the beep-beep-beep of construction trucks backing up. I have a hunch they wanted to get in some work before the snow got heavy, though it never really did. The good thing is that they were fixing the sewer lines, so it wasn’t something I had to pay for, at least not directly.

Although you can’t tell from the photo, snow was falling lightly when I took the picture, and it continued most of the day. Temperatures hovered around freezing, so whatever snow fell melted right away, leaving mud and puddles behind, which made walking to work a real adventure.

Although it’s only two blocks to my client’s house, there was no way to get there without making a mess of my shoes, unless I wanted to walk several blocks out of my way. The sewer dig went straight down the alley and across the street (they’d had a machine out here a week or so ago that chomped up the tarmac, leaving the strip unpaved). Because of the snow and the digging, that ten-foot-wide strip turned into pure mud. Just as bad, the way they do the storm drainage around here is to hump the middle of the street, creating a ditch on either side of the road, which fill with water because it was an inefficient concept for drainage. The good thing is that I was able to wash off my muddy shoes in the puddles. The bad thing is that my socks got wet, and I didn’t bring a second pair of socks as I usually do during wet times. (I can’t blame myself for forgetting the socks because we’ve had so little wet weather it was easy to forget my wet-weather routine.) I did remember to bring dry shoes, a sweater, and my lunch as well as all my regular staples such as phone, water, and a variety of small emergency items.

With all the stuff I bring, you’d think I was going on a major expedition instead of a mere two blocks!

I mentioned yesterday that when I’m at work and the client is asleep, sometimes I read, but sometimes I also play games on my phone. I get tired of the one I have (a word game where you unscramble a bunch of letters to form words of various sizes). I deleted most of the other games that came with the phone because they seemed boring, but it would be nice to have another game or two. The game I have inundates me with ads for other games, but although some sound interesting, I don’t have a clue what to get. Do you play a game on your phone? If so, do you mind telling me what it is? (I hesitate to ask because the games we play seem so personal — they tell more about us than we might want others to know.)

Luckily, the weather will improve for a few days to let the mud dry out, so I only have one more hazardous walk to deal with until the middle of next week when icy weather returns.

***

What if God decided S/He didn’t like how the world turned out, and turned it over to a development company from the planet Xerxes for re-creation? Would you survive? Could you survive?

A fun book for not-so-fun times.

Click here to buy Bob, The Right Hand of God.

Lusting After Wanderlust

A friend and I had tea together today, which was so nice, we couldn’t figure out why we didn’t do it more often, though the truth is, we are both busy and our schedules don’t often coincide.

We both live alone, and one of the things we talked about was getting feeble and if there would come a time when we would need to text each other (or text someone, anyway) every day to let them know that we are okay. My next-door neighbors pay attention to the shade in my computer room; if it’s up, they know I’m awake and okay. If it’s closed in the morning or the lights don’t come on at night, they will text me to make sure I’m okay, so I do have that bit of security. More than a bit, actually. It’s very comforting to know that my neighbors would notice if something happened to me.

My friend and I soon decided to change the subject because it was too depressing talking about getting feebler, and besides, it didn’t really seem all that relevant because both of us were feeling good today. Good meaning no real problems. Good meaning not old. Good meaning feeling the way we always did.

Walking home, there was even a spring in my step, and it seemed as if I could do anything I used to do. Until I turned on the computer at home and saw photos from a hiking group I belong to and never unjoined because it seemed too much like giving up. Seeing those photos of various individuals walking on trails way beyond civilization, gave me a bad case of wanderlust.

I might still feel as if I can do what I used to, but the truth is, hiking alone in the wilderness is out of the question. But oh, I do miss those adventures! There was nothing like it, being out alone among the rocks or trees, following a trail wherever it led, nothing to do but put one foot in front of the other and breathe in the freedom. Although I wish I lived closer to a wilderness area, as I did when I lived near the desert, or when I spent that summer in Crescent City with a friend who so generously dropped me off at the beginning of a trail and picked me up at the other end, I suppose it’s just as well I don’t live closer. It’s hard enough yearning for wilderness trails that are beyond reach; it would be almost unbearable if the trails were but a hand’s breadth away and yet I couldn’t trust myself to hike alone.

I might feel differently someday. My knees aren’t really giving me any problem, and I’m gradually getting back in the habit of walking (weather and work permitting) so who knows what I’ll be able to do in the future. And who knows what I won’t be able to do since generally people don’t get younger with the passage of time. But I don’t want to think about that.

Still, walking is good. Trying to get into hiking shape is even better. If nothing else, it will give me something to focus on rather than a possibly feeble future.

***

What if God decided S/He didn’t like how the world turned out, and turned it over to a development company from the planet Xerxes for re-creation? Would you survive? Could you survive?

A fun book for not-so-fun times.

Click here to buy Bob, The Right Hand of God.

Settling In, Not Setting Out

A blog I wrote the other day reminded me of one I’d written a long time ago called “The Importance of Being Important,” and I wanted to quote from that old post. I never did find the post; apparently, I had planned to write it, had written the title down on a list of blog topics that eventually got thrown away, and then I forgot all about it. I have no idea what I wanted to say about why we need to be important, but at one time, the idea must have been important to me.

I do think we humans have a need to feel important — to ourselves, if no one else. Importance could be tied in with a need for purpose, for being needed, for feeling that life does mean something, because feeling as if we aren’t important in the scheme of life is a crushing burden.

But that’s not what I want to talk about. In searching for that non-existent post in my archives, I came across essay after essay about my dreams for an epic adventure, plans for such an adventure, preparation for such an adventure, as well as actually setting out on various ventures. It struck me how different my life is now, and how different I am. Instead of setting out to experience more of the world, I am settling in to a world of my own making.

Even if it’s not actually a world I am making, it’s definitely a home — a place of refuge, a place where I belong, and most especially, a place that connects me to the rest of the world. In that respect, it is a way of experiencing more of the world, or at least experiencing the world in a different manner.

After Jeff died, I was afraid of settling down. Since I was well aware of my penchant for being a quasi-hermit (though it’s possible it’s more laziness than an actual penchant because sometimes it takes too much energy to be social), I feared that in settling, I would become a crazy cat lady (sans cats, of course, since I don’t want that much responsibility) and that when my expiration date came, weeks would go by before anyone would know I was gone. Luckily, I have neighbors who keep an eye out for me, and anyway, the role of crazy cat person in this neighborhood is already taken by a man who lives across the street.

[If I ever do write my small-town novel, there are certainly plenty of archetypes to choose from — the aforementioned crazy cat person; the hoarder who won’t let anyone in his house; the neighborhood talker; a generous and civic-minded man and his greedy slumlord brother; the tireless club woman who is active in just about every organization in town; the neighborhood drug dealer and thief. Except for the clubwoman, all the characters are men, which puts a bit of spin on the archetypes.]

Until the Bob issue, I did a good job of finding people to socialize with, but oddly, it’s my place itself that makes me feel as if I am settling in (which to me means taking an active interest in making a comfortable life for myself) rather than settling down (which to me connotes staidness and passively accepting the status quo).

The place seems almost like a presence in my life, as if it wraps itself around me in a comforting way. (I’m laughing here. That sounds almost like the premise of a horror story rather than a pleasant feeling, and perhaps, that’s how crazy old ladies living alone become crazy.)

It’s still early days, of course. I have been here less than three years, and I am just now beginning my journey into elderliness, so who knows how the experience of settling in will turn out. But so far, although I sometimes miss the excitement of setting out, settling in has been good for me.

***

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.

Happy Fourteenth Bloggiversary to Me!

I created this blog fourteen years ago today, back when I hadn’t yet become a published author, back when I had just acquired my first computer and didn’t even know what a blog was. I had read how important blogging was for authors, both as a way of getting known and as a way of connecting with readers, so I decided to “act as if” I were going to be published in the hopes of making it happen. I had nothing to say, no one to say it to, no reason to say anything, but I didn’t let that stop me. I started blogging on September 24, 2007, and haven’t stopped since.

Did acting as if I were going to get published work? Perhaps, though there is no direct connection that I know of. Still, one and a half years after starting this blog, my first two books were published. I now have nine books available: four suspense novels, one mystery, three books about grief (one fiction and two non-fiction), and my most recent book, Bob: The Right Hand of God. (My publisher said, “Bob: The Right Hand of God is playful, fun and well-written. It spans genres, so I’m not sure if there is an exploitable target audience. I don’t care. I like it.”

Two-and-half years after I started this blog, my life mate/soul mate died, and his death catapulted me into a world of such pain that it bled over into my posts. This blog became a place where I could try to make sense of what I was going through, to offer comfort and be comforted, to find my way to renewed life. And I struck a chord with people who were also dealing with grief. It’s no wonder my top posts are grief related: What Do You Say to Someone Who is Grieving at Christmas? with 91,801 views and The Five Major Challenges We Face During the Second Year of Grief with 40,705 views.

This blog sustained me during the years I cared for my father after Jeff’s death, and it gave me a place to rest when my father died four years later, and I was thrown out into the world, alone and orphaned.

This blog offered me a place to call home when I set out alone on a five-month, 12,000 mile cross-country road trip, gave me a place where I could talk about all the wonders I was seeing. Often on that trip, when I was between visits with online friends, I thought of William Cowper’s words: How sweet, how passing sweet, is solitude! But grant me still a friend in my retreat, whom I may whisper, solitude is sweet. And this blog became a place where I could whisper, “Solitude is sweet.”

And when I settled into a house of my own, this blog gave me a place of familiarity in an otherwise unfamiliar life.

Currently, as I am dealing with the infirmities of the encroaching years as well as the many facets of first-time homeownership, it’s nice to know that whatever life throws at me, whatever problems I encounter, whatever challenges and adventures — and joys — come my way, this blog will be here for me.

During the past fourteen years, I have written 3,207 blogs, received 21,115 comments, and garnered 960,164 views. It amazes me that anyone wants to read anything that I write here. This is so much a place for just letting my thoughts roam, for thinking through problems, and (I admit it) for pontificating a bit. It’s been a kick, writing this blog, and I want to thank all of you for indulging my whims and whimsies.

Thank you for reading. Thank you all for your comments, your likes, your support. They have meant more to me (especially this past eleven and a half years) than you can ever imagine.

***

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.

Call to Adventure

As I’m sitting here, mentally sorting through my recent activities to find something at least vaguely interesting to write about, I hear a train whistle as it passes through town. This train whistle has an old-fashioned mournful sound, evocative of summer days and faraway places.

I’m glad the trains that pass by within a few short blocks of where I live use that particular whistle. The last place I lived before I moved here was also close to the tracks. It was actually about a mile away rather than a matter of blocks, but there were no houses between me and the train to absorb some of the sound, so sometimes, the train sounded as if it were racing past my window, a few feet away from where I slept. From what I understand, there is a variety of horn or whistle sounds that can be used when a train goes through a town, and trains in that particular area used a horrendous screeching noise. Sometimes, I’d be awakened by what sounded like banshees shrieking outside my window. At first, it scared me until I realized what it was — no monsters, just a train making a monstrous noise.

I never did understand why those trains shrieked rather than wailed; perhaps the train rushing through a populous area made it imperative. Luckily, that train is a thousand miles away. Even more luckily, at least for now, the trains trundling through this town use the more traditional sound.

It’s too bad the trains just pass through. There is a station here that once was used for passenger traffic, and if it were operational to this day, I could walk a few blocks, get on the train, and head . . . somewhere. As it is, the train stops at a town about twenty-five miles away, which isn’t far but would require a concerted effort and some planning to take a trip rather than the impulse of the moment.

It’s just as well, I suppose. I’m still working, still have a house to take care of, still have a yard to landscape. Besides, there truly isn’t any place I would rather be than where I am at the moment: in my own house, on my own property, listening to the train calling me to adventure.

***

What if God decided S/He didn’t like how the world turned out, and turned it over to a development company from the planet Xerxes for re-creation? Would you survive? Could you survive?

A fun book for not-so-fun times.

Click here to buy Bob, The Right Hand of God

At Home

Several friends have each recently bought a travel trailer, motor home, or camper, and are planning on hitting the road. I don’t know why the sudden urge people have to be on the move. Perhaps their age dictates a now-or-never attitude. Maybe it’s being holed up at home for so long. It could be any number of reasons, actually. Not that it matters. They are going and I am not.

I spent my one-last-trip travel money on a garage, which, considering the weather this year, was a great investment. My car is out of the cold, and when I do need to drive, I don’t have to spend the time uncovering it. Nor do I have to clear away snow or worry about the car not starting. (What I do have to worry about is the choke — the last guy who worked on the car either didn’t set it right or knocked it out of whack, because when it’s frigid out, the poor car bucks and stutters, and I haven’t had a chance to get it fixed yet.)

I haven’t gotten rid of any of my camping or hiking gear in case I do decide to go on a camping trip someday, but for the most part, I am where I want to be. No amount of wanderlust, no desire to be in the mountains or to see different things outweighs the sheer joy of being in my own house, wandering around my own yard.

It seems odd that after all those years of looking for adventure, the only outdoor adventure I find is in my own backyard, though admittedly, it’s been so cold, I don’t spend much time outside except to sweep snow off my ramp or to shovel the sidewalk, but still, it’s my place to go out and enjoy whenever I wish.

I feel fortunate, not only to have a place to call my own, but that I actually want to be there! So often, during the years after Jeff’s death, I didn’t want to be anywhere, and whatever place I happened to be didn’t really seem to fit; I could feel itchiness and discomfort as if I were wearing ill-fitting clothes. I had such a need to escape those “clothes” that being on the move seemed to be the only time I felt vaguely like myself.

Now, surprisingly, I feel like myself all the time. That’s a major change, and a welcome one. Not only do I not feel the need to travel to understand my very existence as I once did (hence the poster accompanying this blog that I made back in my wanderlust days), I’m not sure I even worry much about trying to understand my existence. It’s more important for me just to be, to be in the here and now, to be at home.

***

What if God decided S/He didn’t like how the world turned out, and turned it over to a development company from the planet Xerxes for re-creation? Would you survive? Could you survive?

Click here to buy Bob, The Right Hand of God

Feeding My Adventurous Spirit

I always walk home from work, even now when it’s dark and the roads are slick from snow. To my surprise, it doesn’t worry me. In fact, I enjoy the small adventure of making my way home in the wilds of this town.

The “wilds” part is just me being facetious. The trek is but two city blocks with street lights. Still, I am alone out there, which adds to the enjoyment. I stop, look up at the sky, look around, listen, feel the chill air, take deep breaths. Sometimes I imagine myself in the wilderness as if I had taken that winter backpacking trip I had once (briefly) considered taking. Mostly I just enjoy the moment.

Not so oddly, this adventure of mine does worry other people.

It’s nice to have people concerned about me, but it’s also a bit amusing. As I’ve been explaining to various folks who think I’m doing something inordinately dangerous by making this brief trek, I have often gone adventuring on my own.

I hiked in the mountains alone. I hiked along beaches alone. I hiked in forests alone. I camped alone. I backpacked alone. I took a cross-country trip alone, going from coast to coast and back again. I took an upcountry road trip alone, going almost from Mexico to close to Canada. Many times I took a half-country trip, from California to Colorado, making the trip so often, in fact, that those roads are very familiar to me.

Even though people flat out told me I couldn’t do each of these things alone (not “shouldn’t” as in a suggestion, but “couldn’t” as is in an order), I went about my merry way. If I had waited for someone to accompany me on any of my various adventures, big or small, I wouldn’t have been able to go anywhere. Looking back, my adventures seemed blessed. The problems I had were minor and easily fixed — a dead battery, a cracked fuel line, a broken speedometer — but even if there had been larger issues, I would have dealt with them.

Now that I have a home, I tend not to travel far, so currently my biggest adventure is that two-block hike in the snow at night.

I’m not stupid — I am cognizant of my age, the weather, and the conditions of the road. I wear waterproof, non-skid hiking boots in the snow and I use my Pacer Poles to help me navigate the icy areas. I also have pepper spray, though since it’s in my bag, it wouldn’t do me much good if I needed it. Besides, I need both hands for the poles. I also have a phone, and all along those two blocks, I get good cellular coverage in case I need to call for help. Lately, because of the snow and the two hiking poles, it’s been bright enough I don’t need a flashlight, but when the streets are clear, I carry a hiking stick in one hand and a flashlight in the other.

Yesterday, when I told friends about my nightly trek and they expressed concern, I just shook my head and mentioned all the things I’d done alone. “But that was years ago,” they said. I agreed, and it was only later I realized they probably meant when I was much younger. What I meant by “years ago” was a mere two years in the past. Most of my adventuring didn’t start until I was sliding down the bannister into old age. (I’m still sliding. Spending so much time with a woman decades older than myself makes me feel young since I can still do most things as well as ever. A bit slower, perhaps, but I am still out and about, for which I am grateful. And she thinks I am just a kid, which helps the illusion.)

So you can see, as adventures go, this one is rather mild, though it does help feed my adventurous spirit.

***

My novel of a quarantine predated this real life experience by a decade. You can read the first chapter online here:  http://patbertram.com/A_Spark_of_Heavenly_Fire.html

Buy it on Amazon here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0024FB5H6/

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