The Far Side of the Mountain

I still haven’t turned off my computer for an entire day, but I have been curtailing my online activities in an effort to live more of an offline life.

A couple of days ago, I went on a quest to find a trail to the top of a local mountain, but I never even got to the other side of the mountain to find the trail. Distances are deceiving in the desert, since there is no human-made structure for comparison, and it took me two hours just to get to the mountain and swing around it a bit. I had to save enough energy, strength, and water to get back, otherwise I would have made it around the mountain.

Bell Mountain. Elevation 3848 ft. The 30120th highest peak in the US.

Bell Mountain. Elevation 3848 ft. The 30120th highest peak in the US.

Today I did the next best thing — drove to the other side of the mountain and tried to hike up the far side. Did well for a while, but the steepness defeated me — even on flange of the mountain, there were places where it sloped greater than 45 degrees. (It’s the steepness that makes it a mountain, apparently. Otherwise it would be just another desert knoll.)

Getting closer!

Still, it was an interesting trip, and maybe I’ll try again someday.

The world below.

The world below.

I didn’t have any great insights, just the same one any intrepid mountain climber has about halfway up a steep slope: What goes up, must come down.

My car, far below, circled in red, near a water tank.

***

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.” Follow Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

Fishing For Life

Today is the 3 and 1/6-year anniversary of my life mate/soul mate’s death, and I’m still sad, still missing the spark to get my life going again. For thirty-four years, he was my spark — everything was so much more vibrant when he was in my life — and without something to spark my interest again, my life will continue to feel sad and flat.

A few days ago, in Dreaming My Life into Being, I wrote about my plans to go fishing for life. Well, today, I went. (The second part of that plan was to turn off my computer for a day, and as you can see, I didn’t do that, but following through on half a plan is better than doing nothing, right?)

Today’s fishing trip wasn’t a major journey by any means, just a long hike through the desert on a quest to find the trail to the top of Bell Mountain. I’d climbed halfway one day, but gave up when the trail petered out to 60-degree angle. There is no way I could have climbed that sort of slope with only my tennis shoe-clad feet and bare hands — who am I trying to kid;  there is no way I could ever have climbed that slope — so I turned around and came back. (Slid down halfway, I’m sure, though I don’t remember. It was in the midst of the worst of my grief, and there are blank spots of pain in my memory.)

Bell Mountain

Bell Mountain

I’d recently read online that there is a trail to the top, though it’s on the other side of the mountain, so my quest today was to make my way to the other side and find the trail. Again, I had to turn back. I’d walked for two hours, and perhaps another two hours would have taken me around to the trailhead, but then, I’d have been too exhausted to make my way back. So once again, the mountain defeated me.

The way back.

The way back.

Just because one goes on a fishing trip doesn’t mean you’ll get what you went for, but still, it was a lovely day in the sun with just enough wind to keep me from dying of the heat. So I did catch something — a bit of life.

I also caught a thought. We talk about life being a journey, but it’s always a forward motion or maybe even sideways. No matter how far we go, we continue on from there. Unlike other physical journeys, such as a hike, we don’t have to return to home base. So we can give it all we have without needing to keep anything in reserve for the return trip.

I hope I remember that when next I feel as if I can’t continue my life’s journey.

***

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.” Follow Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.