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.

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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.

Camping on the Edge of Life

Too often now I feel as if I am camping on the edge of life. To a certain extent, this feeling comes from my current living situation. I am staying with my 96-year-old father to make sure he retains his independence as long as possible, but since his house is fully furnished, that means most of my stuff is in storage. I have my clothes, of course, my computer, my own towels, a few kitchen items, a couple of furniture pieces (such as the table and chair I’m presently using for my desk) — just enough to connect me to the past but not enough to make me feel settled. I won’t be staying here once my father is gone campingand that knowledge also keeps me from feeling settled, makes me feel as if I am just camping in. (Rather than camping out.)

More than that, though, this feeling of camping on the edge of life comes from being single in a coupled world. It’s been three and a third years since the death of my life mate/soul mate, and I’m still not comfortable with his being gone. Despite that, quite inexplicably I’m forgetting that I once shared my life, once loved deeply, once felt as if I lived smack dab in the middle of life. As my grief continues to wane, as I move further from him, it seems as if this is lonely existence is what my life has always been — and it should be enough, but it isn’t. Not yet.

We live in a world where movies, books, songs, videos, shows, ads and commercials all extol the virtue of being in an intimate relationship. Love makes the world go round. You’re nobody till somebody loves you. All you need is love. Love makes you feel complete. Love makes you feel fulfilled. Love makes life worth living.

This constant barrage of coupled love and happily ever after is a sad message for many of us — either we lost our love too soon through death or divorce, or never found someone in the first place.

Intellectually, I know that whatever I am doing or feeling is life. Being together or being alone, feeling fulfilled or feeling unfulfilled — all of it is life. And yet, I can’t help feeling that something is missing.

It might sound as if I’m looking for someone to share my life with, but I’m not. I’m just aware of the realities of being uncoupled in a coupled world. I suppose there will come a time when I embrace the freedom of my alonehood, and plunge deep into the heart of life, but for now, all logic to the contrary, I feel as if I am camping on the edge of life.

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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.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.