Uncreating and Recreating my Life

It’s been exceptionally windy lately, and will continue to be windy through tomorrow. I still did my faux backpacking treks the past couple of days, though I must admit, I procrastinated this morning. It wasn’t just the wind I couldn’t face, but the struggle to get the backpack up onto my back. I can do it easily sitting on the bed, but I have it on good authority there are no such beds out in the wilderness. In the desert, there are often boulders the right size, but I’ve hiked many places where there wasn’t even a place to sit down except the ground, and sometimes not even that if the trail follows the side of a mountain or swings through a deep forest.

Yesterday, I had such a hard time getting the pack on, I was afraid I would wrench my back, but it’s something I have to learn — getting the darn pack on with nothing or no one to help. Then, it came to me: do the left side first. (The instructions for putting on a backpack were to haul it up on the bent right leg, put your right arm through the strap, then with the left hand gripping the haul strap, sling the thing onto your back, but my left hand isn’t strong enough and even if it were, the wonky arm no longer bends the way it’s supposed to.) I switched sides, and by golly, it worked. Despite the twenty-eight pound dead weight, the pack went on easily.

Then, of course, I had no excuse not to go out walking.

As I was sauntering along with all that weight on my back (plus two pounds of water in my belly pack), it occurred to me that I no longer feel the pull to do an epic backpacking trip. It’s not that I am giving up on the idea, it’s that I’ve already been pulled. It’s no longer an impossible dream, though the dream has to be tailored to my fitness level. It is and will probably always remain impossible for me to do the whole 2,700 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail from beginning to end in one season. An average of twenty-miles a day for six months? Eek. Not even many young fit folk manage to do that. But I will be doing some of it, even if only a few miles — it’s just a matter of when and where.

I like the idea of doing the last hundred miles of the northern section and the first hundred miles of the southern section, and then filling in the center. Sort of like the way I colored when I was a kid — first the outline, then the middle. But we’ll see.

My May trip is getting closer, and I still have a lot to do to prepare, most notably searching through my storage unit and the closet in my room for all my camping and backpacking gear so I can decide what to take. (And make sure I don’t leave something important behind!)

Meantime, I am spending most of my mental time on my book, trying to figure out the last section. There needs to be more upheavals before they settle down, but I’ve already uncreated the world and recreated it, so I’m not sure what I can do that doesn’t set up echoes of what’s already been done. I’ll think of something though — in fact, I might take inspiration from one of my silly little water colors, and pull the stars down to earth and the flowers up into the sky. One can do that if one is a writer, especially if one is a writer who is playing god.

I’m still not sure whether to create a Garden of Eden or some sort of cave person environment. (I’ve been trying to find out what a Garden of Eden would look like, but to no avail.) Not that it really matters, but they have to settle somewhere. I don’t want to have to research a whole set of survival skills for them, so it has to be easy for them and for me, this primordial and primitive place where they will raise the baby they are going to have. (And yes, the poor kid will be named Adam. What else could his name be, this first boy child born into the recreated world?)

With any luck and a bit of determination, I might be able to finish the book before I head out, to free my mind for all the new adventures coming my way. So, while I uncreate and recreate the world in my book, I am also uncreating and recreating my own life as I finish the novel, prepare for my trip, and continue my backpacking conditioning.

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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.

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Being Silly

As I was sauntering along today, carrying twenty-eight pounds on my back, the whole thing — the weight, the pretend backpacking treks, the dream of a hugely long hike — suddenly seemed utterly silly.

I suppose if I could see any changes — more muscle tone, a sleeker body, greater energy, anything — it wouldn’t seem so ridiculous, but I don’t see any difference in me at all. I am carrying more weight in the pack than I did at the beginning, but I don’t think it’s because I’m stronger; it’s more that I carried less than I could when I started this project. Back then, I couldn’t carry much because I couldn’t sling the pack onto my back. Once I figured out that it was easy to put the pack on while sitting on the bed, I was able to increase the weight.

But that brings up another silly issue — in the backcountry, there are no beds, so I researched how to put on a pack out in the wild (hoist it up onto a bent leg using the haul strap, hold the haul strap with the left hand, put the right arm through the right shoulder strap, hump it onto your back and then put the left arm through the strap), but that’s difficult to do even without a weak and wonky left arm. I thought of using a rope to haul the thing up my back, but sheesh — talk about silly!

I guess none of this is any more foolish than the rest of my life, such as spending years writing books only a few folks read. Or taking ballet classes when one is leaden footed. Or learning to dance when one can’t distinguish one note or instrument from another. (In class the other day, I was told to do a certain move when the steel guitars started. Total blank. Hadn’t a clue.) Or driving a forty-six-year-old car. Or . . .

Come to think of it, is anything in my life not silly?

But then what do I know — perhaps silliness is the point of my life. Of any life. Maybe God created us and the world and even the universe in a fit of silliness and then went on to more important things.

Since I have nothing more important to do at the moment, I’m stuck with my silliness. At least I’m consistent, but then, consistency is foolish, too.

As if all this weren’t silly enough, I spent the past half hour trying to find the perfect positioning for the image of the bed in this blog post.

Yikes.

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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.