What If?

I faced no traumas today, no conflicts with others, no conflicts with myself, just the normal difficulties that come with trying to haul one’s used body around and make it do what one wants it to do. Luckily, this aging body is only used, not used up, so it managed to do what I asked of it. Like get up in the morning. Like strap on the twenty-seven pound pack and walk three and a half miles. Like go on an errand with a friend.

Now, it’s giving out on me. Actually, no — this poor used body is not giving out, it’s the overused mind that does not want to be tethered to words. It wants to roam free, not thinking, just . . . well, just not thinking. But without words, there is not much of a blog.

Oh wait! Photos! I don’t have to write about where my mind is. I can show you.

Less than four weeks until I am on the road again!

I mentioned to my landlord today that I was going to be gone a month and why, and he said, “I hope you’re bringing mace and a firearm.” I just stared at him, wondering if he were making a joke. But no. He was utterly serious. Then I mentioned to a fellow renter about my trip, and she, too, said I needed mace and gun. Huh? Mine is supposed to be a spiritual journey. (First, of course, an escape. Then a spiritual journey.) There is no killing on a spiritual journey. I’ll just have to be extra careful.

“What if a wild animal attacks you?” they asked. “Or a person?” I had no response to that, of course. There never is a response to “what if,” unless it’s: What if an animal doesn’t attack me? What if I have a wonderful time? What if things go well, and I return refreshed?

What if?


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.

My Knights in Denim

I had rather an interesting experience yesterday. The accelerator cable broke just as I drove out of a parking lot with a car full of groceries. Within minutes, two young men who did know each other simultaneously stopped to help. They pushed my car into a parking space (the car did not want to go in straight, but went in at an angle, which turned out to be the optimal placement for the tow truck). One of the men watched my car while the other took me and my groceries home and then brought me back to wait for the tow truck. Both of them left to finish their errands, then returned later to see make sure I was okay. Such chivalry! My knights in denim.

What could have been a disaster turned out to be a rather fun and entertaining day. (It was the first time I ever used my cell phone for an emergency. It was also the first time I ever used my insurance company’s new roadside service, which actually turned out to be easy and effective. Amazing.) And I enjoyed talking to the two fellows, neither of whom I would ever have met in the normal course of my life.

I’m not sure what if anything I learned from the experience except to relearn what I already knew — it’s nice when things work out, but if they don’t, it’s an adventure. Of course, even considering the broken cable, everything did work out. The breakdown could just as easily have become a real horror, but except for the groceries, I wasn’t worried. (And even the groceries weren’t much of a problem. I could have returned them and walked home.) I have no real reason to be one place other than another, and after dealing with death of my life mate/soul mate and the ensuing grief, I really do believe I can deal with anything.

This bodes well for my future travel plans. If things go as I intend, the trips will be nice, but if things go wrong, well . . . adventure awaits.

(This experience might turn into a story someday. My chauffeur looked a bit like one of my brothers and sounded exactly like him. Even had the same laugh. Sounds to me like a great jumping off place for a “what if.”)