The Best Laid Plans

Plans gang aft agley, but it’s hard not to feel silly after one has posted one’s plans online, and then have those plans come to naught. All these months, I’ve been talking about the big road-camping-hiking-backpacking trip I’ve planned for May, and then zap! I caught a cold. A bad one.

I haven’t accomplished much of anything the past week— the book remains unfinished, the trip preparations have come to a halt, and trail foods never got fixed. (I haven’t even been blogging — didn’t want you to catch my cold.)

I still hope to be well enough to leave Wednesday as planned, but I even if I have stopped coughing by then, I might be too weak. If I left a few days later, driving mostly straight through and staying at motels instead of campgrounds, I’d still be able to visit the people I’d planned to visit (keeping my fingers crossed!) but I would have to forego some of the sights I wanted to see and the activities I’d hoped to experience.

But you never know. Everything could go as planned. And if not, well, I still have my trip book — the binder I’ve filled with maps and directions and descriptions of parks and places along the way — so I can take the trip another time.

It’s interesting (to me, anyway), the difference in my thinking when I am feeling well and when I am not. When I am well, I feel as if I can work toward impossible dreams and maybe even accomplish them. When I am weakened by illness (or by coughing fits), I feel as if even the possible would be impossible.

But thinking doesn’t change reality, even though people say it does. If you don’t think you can do something, you can still try to prove yourself wrong and end up accomplishing what you think you could not do. If you think you can do something, you can rely too much on the belief and do nothing to make it happen, you can fail to accomplish what you thought you could.

Whatever happens next week — and next month — I’ll continue working toward the goal of an eventual epic backpacking trip. That doesn’t necessarily mean I will take the trip because as we all know, plans don’t mean a whole lot if things change and you can’t implement them, but still, it’s the work that counts.

For now, I need to work on getting better.

Hope you all are doing okay.

***

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.

An Opportunity to Escape

This morning, it suddenly seemed absurd my researching narcissism and obsessing about one extremely unimportant individual in my life, and I had to laugh. Not that narcissism is absurd — the personality disorder has ruined many lives — but I have more important things to obsess about, such as my upcoming trip to visit my sisters. (One sister invited us other two to visit her around Mother’s Day to make chocolate-covered pecan and caramel turtles in honor of our mother.)  Now that is something worth obsessing about!

It’s entirely possible this narcissism thing could be a way of distracting me from the impending visit and the very real problems that could arise. Not that I am expecting problems, as such, but the truth is, my two sisters and I have never been alone together, and I mean never. We’ve all been together with other family members. We’ve each of us been alone with one other sister, but never in memory have just the three of us done anything together, possibly because we are so far apart in age. If I really thought there would be more than a little discomfort I would opt out, but I think, despite us three being almost opposites (visualize a unilateral triangle), we are mature enough — or old enough — to manage a weekend together.

Still, I am driving up to Seattle instead of flying to give me the opportunity to escape if need be. Or perhaps I’m driving because I need an excuse for an adventure, a reason to run away from my problems. Oh, who cares why I am driving. I want to. It’s as simple as that.

I am planning to take a couple of weeks to get there, which will allow me to visit friends along the way, to visit a few national parks and monuments and wilderness areas, and to do some camping and hiking and perhaps see some wildflowers.

Just the thought of being in the open feels like a breath of fresh air on my soul. I hope the reality is the same. (I must admit I have a few reservations about my arm, but one way or another, I manage to do what is necessary, so I’m sure I will be able to continue doing so.)

I’d more or less considered not coming back to the desert at all, just continuing to travel, but since I promised to be back for a dance performance, I’m paying my room rent to give me a place to return to.

I really don’t want to spend another summer in the desert — it’s impossible to do much walking, not even in the early morning, and I would like to continue my backpack practice in preparation for a long hike. On the other hand, I don’t really want to be on the road when other people are out in force, and besides, it’s hot almost everywhere in the summer. Maybe not as hot as here, but still hot.

But that is a decision for another time.

Today the only decision I have to make is what national park land to research, what maps to print out. I wish I could be totally spontaneous, and just go without any sort of plans, but my idea of spontaneity is to drive. And drive. And keep on driving. That kind of driving becomes almost a zen-like experience, because as soon as a thought passes through your mind, you’ve left it behind, but it doesn’t satisfy my need for adventure.

So, I’ll close this post and go open my atlas and see where it will take me.

Wishing us all the best of adventures!

***

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.