Trekking towards the Clearing

So, I guess, in a way, I’ve been “trekking towards the Clearing” since I came into the world just after midnight, during a thunderstorm, on July 30th, 1954.  During the “baby boom.” It’s rather surreal to reach the tender age of sixty, and feel you have finally found the place where you belong. I suppose everything that led up to this moment was just a part of the trek – a long, crazy, tale that perhaps will be told in a later post, perhaps not, depending on my mood or whether it’s relevant – but suffice it to say, I like to look at that random and often dysfunctional road, as the exact path necessary to get to this place, this hotel in Dayton, on this exact day, this moment, this Sunday morning, this Starbucks coffee, this husband studying his beloved Rand McNally, this wife beginning her blog about our new adventure – headed for our own little slice of nirvana, with the partner, the companion, the soulmate for whom we were meant.  And two goofy poodles. And a car filled to the brim with “stuff,” à la Beverly Hillbillies headed for Green Acres.

We’ve made it about 2,400 miles since leaving Fountain Valley, CA, on Sunday, May 10 (yes, Robyn, I know – MOTHER’S DAY!!!), and it has been peaceful and enjoyable, despite the chaos of traveling from hotel to hotel, schlepping all of our (and our dogs’) paraphernalia. Yesterday we were on the road for nearly ten hours. Eric feels most relaxed when he is driving, so he has been behind the wheel for all 2,400 of those miles. I, of course, have taken my pivotal job as “Napping Copilot” very seriously. And in between snoozes, I check Facebook, monitor WeatherBug for tornados, blizzards, tarantulas and lizards (kidding) and other possible climate-related catastrophes – filing frequent full reports with the Pilot! – and take photos of the poodles, the scenery, thunderstorms, the Pilot, and so forth. (I also pass the Pilot chocolate-covered peanuts at various times throughout the trek. Road fuel.)

Our path after leaving Fountain Valley took us through Flagstaff, AZ, where we spent the first exciting night of our trek (learning, with relief, that poodles adapt to new surroundings fairly quickly). Then on to Ridgway, CO, for a fly-by visit with friends (learning, with trepidation, that poodles are capable of scaring friends’ cats into pooping all over friends’ bed spreads). Then on to Denver for three nights, to do a class with a colleague, which basically means I spent three days in a hotel room, doing laundry and watching CSI Miami with two poodles.  And if that’s not exciting enough, on one of my frequent dog walks, I fell ass-over-tea-kettle onto the pavement, scraping my shins and knees and bruising the heels of my hands, after having been ambushed by some camouflaged, insidious, vicious, plotting…um…unidentified “tripper-upper.”  (You will be relieved to know my ass and my tea kettle both came through unscathed.)

Pooping cats and precarious plummets aside, one lesson I am taking from this trip is that no matter how much you may worry about things, they turn out how they turn out. Every single time. And most of the time, better than you expected. (Not always, but most of the time.) Not that I didn’t already know this. It’s basic “Why Can’t You Get this Through Your Head, 101.” But after lying awake many a night over the past several months imagining all manner of scenarios as to what could possibly go WRONG on a cross country trip involving work stops, multiple hotel stays and two neurotic poodles, I told myself to CUT IT OUT, ALREADY. It would be what it would be. And it has been not only that, but it has also been pretty much a breeze. As breezes go. Maybe I am delusional. Or, maybe I finally get it? Me, the Queen of Hand-wringing?  The Wizard of Worry? The Duchess of Distress? We shall see. Most of what we worry about never even happens. (Eric always says, save the worry for when – and if – bad stuff happens. The rest of the time, just enjoy life. Who knew?) Maybe, at sixty, it’s time to finally allow myself to understand this concept, and live in (and enjoy!) the moments we have left.  And who cares what my hair looks like? (Okay, this one may take a little more time…)

And so, on this lovely Sunday morning in May, in Dayton, Ohio, not having had to get up at 4:00 A.M. to hit the road for 8 – 10 hours, and not having to go anywhere today unless we want to, I will begin to practice my new credo. This moment is the pinnacle of my life. As will be the next moment, and the next. (At least, for now, let me believe I can do this.) We’ll be here in Dayton till Tuesday, and Cleveland till Friday, all for work (which allows us to write this whole trip off!), then we head for exquisite Cabot, Vermont, and the Clearing. In six short days we’ll be there. Green Acres (coined by sis-in-law Esther’s husband Phil) awaits.

Nirvana, our dream.


Mikey takes over as copilot when I am “sawing logs.”


This is me not caring about “road trip hair.”
(But how ’bout those perfectly coiffed road trip poodles?)


14 thoughts on “Trekking towards the Clearing

  1. You have the blogging thing down perfectly, Patti!! Love it!!! Already looking forward to the next post!

  2. Patti, it’s been great following you to the Clearing!! Makes me feel like you aren’t 2,400 miles from FV already!!! Glad you are having a safe and fun adventure along the way. Roy always tells me”I” am the “queen of worry”. I will let him know I have competition and am going to try and take your (mostly Eric’s) advice on, ” save the worry for if and when bad stuff happens and just enjoy life”! It will be hard for me, but sounds like somewhere to start!! I miss you!

  3. Hon, you were born to do this! You write beautifully, with insight and humor. What a great way to feel a part of your journey. Love, love, LOVE!!!

  4. Loved every, single, word (and imaginary image)!
    Can’t wait to read the next installment. So, what does one do to get connected to updates? Do I need to hit “like”?

  5. I loved every, single, word (and the colorful imagery)!
    Can’t wait to read the next installment. What does one do to get automatically connected to this blog; hit “like”?

  6. That was so fun to read. You are such a fabulous teller of stories. And this was my maiden voyage on a blog. Thanks for sharing and continue to be safe and happy.

  7. Nice way to keep connected. Hope to see you in Cabot Cove. Or was it just Cabot? Maybe that was “Murder, She Wrote”.

  8. Patti, I have always loved the way you write….it’s almost like having a conversation in my living room with you. I can hear your voice in my head (you’ve got lots of company there!) as well as your laugh. Something I remember from living with you for a short time….does Eric have to creep in, leave your morning coffee by the bedside, then run like hell as I used to, until “the bear” finished her first caffeine fix of the day? I am so loving the idea of having you and Eric in the Northeast again….no more 20 year lapses before hugging you! Looking forward to the next post, and hope the remainder of the journey is stress-free.

  9. you are an amazing writer! Love the imagery & chuckled at the pratfalls along the way. Keep up the good work! Can’t wait to visit IV Vermont!

  10. Thank you all so much for your feedback and commentary. It means so much to me that people are enjoying my musings, and want more. I love writing, but since we bought our business in 2011, I have channeled so much energy into that, that I haven’t had much left over for writing. In fact, over the last several years, my writing accomplishments have dwindled down to mostly just my Christmas letter once a year, with a sprinkling of fruitless attempts to work on my novel in between. And Facebook posts, which are fun, but not quite the same thing as actually writing something polished. Hoping this blog will help me to make my way out of the tangle of cobwebs that have kept my fingers off the creative writing keys for some time now.

  11. Getting back to your writing is precisely what I have hoped for you, as you settle down in Vermont. It is the love of your life that has been mostly put aside to more pressing things, one way or another, for thirty years. And I hope the blog is a springboard to diving back in.

    • Thank you, Dawn. Yes, the blog is hopefully going to loosen up my creative writing constipation. Ha. Cannot wait to get on a real, big girl writer schedule this summer in Cabot. Needless to say, I am feeling very excited!

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