Run, Run, Run Away

It’s a good thing I’m already planning a trip in May because I just want to run, run, run away. Originally, I wasn’t going to leave until the beginning of May with a possibility of not coming back, at least not until the end of summer, but I made a sort of promise to try to be back after Memorial Day, so now I’ve moved my departure date to late April to make sure I can do most of what I’d planned. The way I feel today, though I might move the date even closer.

I am tired of drama, other people’s negativity, and my reaction to both. I wish I could just let drama and negativity run down my back, but as an empath, I feel the energy. The problem is, if I run away from the bad energy, then I also run away from the good. Today at Hawaiian class, there was no drama; everyone quietly went about the business of practicing our dances. We were all moving as one, which is the way it is supposed to be, and I could feel the positive energy, could almost feel the strings connecting our arms as we raised them in unison, could almost see the aura of our single entity-ness. That is such a special joy.

And I would run away from friendship, which is much more valuable to me than my struggles to deal with those who enervate me.

People always say that if you run away, you take you with you, but in my case, that is not a problem. I do fine by myself. What I would carry with me, however, is my ever-worsening financial situation, which is something I will eventually have to face.

But not today.

Today I’m dreaming of life on the run. Or rather, life on the saunter. As much as that appeals to me, if I run away now, I also run away from the opportunity to continue conditioning myself to the backpack.

And I’d run away from the opportunity to learn more. I’ve been reading about the various troubles some people have with the trail community. Though most people seem to be supportive, there are a few elitists who think the thru hikers are the only ones who belong on the trail, a few who see the whole thing as an athletic endeavor, a few who are too insensitive to make allowances for those who are different. I doubt any of these folks would be a problem for me — I probably wouldn’t see them longer that it takes to say hello. My only worry would be that one of these folks would inadvertently push me over the edge of a mountain as they scurried by me.

I keep thinking the trail is not far from here, so just run away for a short backpacking trip and see what happens. But then I’d lose the benefit of having someone help me plan my first backpacking trip and to be standing by in case I run into problems I cannot handle.

Can you tell I’m psyching myself to continue the status quo for a bit longer?

So, I’ll stay for now.

Or go.

***

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.

Advertisements

Waiting to See What I Will See

I strapped on my backpack today and went out walking in the desert again. I’m surprised that the twenty-one pound pack doesn’t bother me all that much, though by the end of four miles, I did get a little wobbly. The cold wind today didn’t help, especially when it blew my hat down so I could only see a few feet of the ground ahead of me. So for all I know, this is what the desert looked like today.

Yeah, right. I would guess, no matter how little of the scenery I saw today, it was nowhere near as beautiful as the photo, which I took during my cross country trip on the Overlook Azalea Trail in Georgia’s Calloway Gardens. The Azalea Trail has understandably been called the most beautiful place on earth, though the California Poppy Preserve in Antelope Valley is a close contender.

But, even if today I didn’t see such vibrant April color (both photos were taken in April, though two years and a continent apart), I also didn’t see a skull in a bucket, like a friend of mine did. The skull incident happened several years ago so, although the bucket was found on a trail I have been walking, I am not in any danger of my skull ending up in such a place (so not an item on my bucket list!)

Although I’ve been feeling as if I Want to Run Away, the truth is, I also want to run toward. There is so much of this country I haven’t seen, so many fabulously beautiful places that are waiting to delight my eyes (and yours!). Fall in Virginia. Summer in Glacier Park. Lovely lakes hidden in the back country. Wildflower meadows beyond the bend. Peaks and valleys, creeks and twisty trails.

Luckily, I will be getting a peek at the wider world when I take a trip to the Pacific Northwest this May. I can hardly wait to see what I will see.

***

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.

Dealing With Elderly Parents

A friend spoke to me today about our different reactions to the care of our aging parents. She seems to think I’m more accepting of my elderly father’s insistence on having his way than she is of her mother’s foibles. Maybe it’s true, but no matter how we deal with the problems that arise with elderly parents, it will always be difficult. To our parents, we are eternal children who lack the necessary skills to navigate through life. More than that, it’s difficult for them to see what is so obvious to us — that they are no longer the strong-bodied and strong-minded people they once were. All that is left is the strong will they are determined to exert even if they no longer have the means of assessing the situation.

icecreamAlthough my run-ins with my father do bother me at the time they happen, I quickly let the frustration go. For the most part, I don’t see that it makes any difference what he does, and besides, I’ve used up my cajolability. If he wants to eat ice cream for every meal, that’s his prerogative. I’m not going to cajole him into eating healthily. If he doesn’t want to do his breathing treatments, well, that’s his choice too. He’s 97 years old. His various medications can only help him be more comfortable. They can’t cure his congestive heart failure, his COPD, his prostate problems. Nor can they give him what he most needs — a modicum of youth.

I suppose it’s possible my blasé attitude comes more from exhaustion than acceptance. I’ve been here for four years watching him deteriorate at an increasingly rapid rate, and there’s not much I can do except watch.

This particular wage of daughterhood is so hard that some days I want to run away, but running away won’t change the situation, just remove me from the equation. I suppose if I had somewhere to go, I would go, but as of right now, only emptiness awaits me when I leave here. I’ll have to start rebuilding my life, and I don’t really have any strong inclinations to do one thing or another. I’d like to keep taking dance lessons, of course, but other than that . . . nothing.

And so I stay, answering my father’s summons when he wants something, checking on him when he doesn’t, and dealing with the other strange elements of my life the rest of the time. (My dysfunctional brother and the sister who has come to help with our father.)

Some day there will only be me to consider.

People tease me and tell me I will miss all this. I doubt that I will miss any of it, and yet there has been so much insane drama during the past fifteen months that the emptiness of my life afterward will seem even emptier by comparison.

I’m trying not to look to the future, though. For a while, dreaming impossible dreams helped me feel alive and made me believe that one day things will be different, but for now all I can do is hunker down and survive each day the best I can.

***

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.