Planting Day

Since this was going to be the last warm day for a while, perhaps until next year, I’d planned to spend the day planting the bulbs I’d ordered.

And I did . . . spend the day planting bulbs, that is. I am utterly exhausted, but the problem is, I only planted half the bulbs I ordered. The rest are lost in the black hole of the Denver postal system as so often has happened since I’ve moved here. Apparently, getting mail to the hinterlands is not a priority. And it’s not just the postal system. UPS recently lost a package, too.

I’m sure the bulbs aren’t lost, just waylaid, but by the time they get here, we’ll be in the midst of a rainstorm, according to the weather forecasters, so there’s no telling when I’ll be able to plant the bulbs. The sellers always urge haste in planting, but since there doesn’t seem to be much haste in getting them to me, I’m not sure how critical it is to get them in the ground right away.

According to the seller, “After arriving on a cargo ship and then clearing customs, the bulbs were transferred to a carrier service for delivery.” Considering the current cargo ship problem, the bulbs could have been in transit for months. I do know they’ve been in the USA for over a week, and it will be close to two weeks by the time I get them.

None of that indicates urgency to me, so when they get here, I’m going to take my time planting them. Luckily, despite the coming cold spell, the ground shouldn’t freeze, so that won’t be an issue. What could be an issue is my soreness — I probably overdid it today, and I am moving like a movie version of Frankenstein’s monster, but since I can’t do any work until the bulbs get here, I should have plenty of time to recuperate.

It was worth it, though, getting these bulbs planted. The lily trees take a few years to get established so they can grow to their full height, but someday I should have a lovely lily forest. (The lilies aren’t really trees, just very tall plants, a cross between trumpet lilies and Asian lilies.) And I planted tulips along a part of my path that’s out of the way so it will be a surprise seeing them when I turn the corner. I was particularly careful to plant them the necessary depth, so I have a good feeling about my chances of having tulips next spring.

Meantime, if I get antsy, am not hurting, and want to do some work outside until the rest of the bulbs get here, there is still a small section of the garden that needs to be prepared for wildflower sowing before the snows hit.

To be honest, I am stunned by the work I’ve done and am doing. I never planned it, and I certainly didn’t think I had the physical capability to do the work even if I had wanted to plan such a project. Still, by taking one step at a time, digging one shovelful of dirt at a time, clearing one foot of weedy grass at a time, I accomplished more than I ever imagined.


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.

Life Happens

I’m beginning to get a bit nervous about discussing my impending future because the uncertainty of my life bothers people — bothers them a lot — and I don’t like putting them in such a position. Oddly, the uncertainty doesn’t really bother me all that much. In fact, I am more fearful of settling into my solitariness and stagnating than I am of uncertainty, which keeps me dreaming of impossible adventures.

(In case you’re new here, after the death of my life mate/soul mate, I came to my nonagenarian father’s house to look after him in his declining years, and now that he’s gone, this house will soon be sold, and I will have to start my life from scratch.)

I have suffered so many losses in the past few years that I feel lost myself, but I’m not sure that’s a bad thing. I don’t want to remain the same forever, nor do I want to do the same things I’ve always done. It’s time for me to try on different lives to see what (if anything) will fit. It does feel strange, though, that my options are both limitless and limited (limitless because a world of possibilities awaits me, limited because of a lack of resources). Such extremes add to the uncertainty. How do you choose a path when thousands are open? How do you deal with the requirements of modern life when resources are few? And most especially, how do you sort through all the things you don’t want to do to find the things you do want to do?

I have no idea how to begin a life from scratch, but as one lovely woman told me today, “You do it one step at a time.” And she should know — although she’s still fairly young, she had a stroke one night and woke up blind. Talk about having to start from scratch! I’m lucky. I don’t have to start from so far down. I can start from where I am right now, with all my baggage, both welcome and unwelcome.

But even she has cautioned me to make immediate plans. To make a decision — today.

The truth is, life happens. It’s as simple as that. You take one step, then another, and all of a sudden you are somewhere you never imagined. I had no intention of ever looking after my father, no thought of taking dance classes, no dreams of dancing on stage, and yet, those things have all happened, one unwitting step at a time.

The first step toward my new life is now in progress. I’m sorting through all my possessions, weeding out the superfluous and packing the rest. I’m also sorting through my immaterial possessions, such as responsibilities I have undertaken and friendships that no longer bring joy, to see what if anything is worth taking with me into my new life and what needs to be discarded. My next step will be to wait to see what happens with my father’s house. It might take a while to sell, and if so, maybe the executors will allow me to stay here until it does. Either way — staying here a or leaving shortly — my third step would be to find a storage place and move all my stuff there. And then . . .

That’s as far as I’ve gotten. Seems a good enough plan for now. So don’t worry. I won’t starve. Won’t be on the streets. I’ll just be . . . wherever life has taken me.


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.