Trail Maintenance

During my recent writing road trip I spent two weeks in Bandelier National Park, where much of my latest work in progress takes place. While there I was able to watch a huge project: the maintenance of the Frey Trail which leads from the campground to the canyon. I had planned to hike this trail, to enhance my description of the first chapter of my novel (working title: The Blue Clay Pot) because the protagonist makes a night time journey down the canyon. And while I couldn’t hike the trail, I could hike every other trail in the close proximity. Which I did. These hikes gave me many views of the entire process of rebuilding and repairing the trail. A huge job, with coordination between many departments, workers on the ground, helicopters and more. Each person had to be precise in their task, so as not to endanger the others. Winds, a momentary distraction, a precarious stance: these were all things that could have impacted the success of the project. The helicopter worked for three days, carefully “handing” 225 thousand-pound bags of  base rock and dirt to the trail workers below. Then it was a matter of opening the bags and installing the new base, along with repairing any other aspects of the trail.

As always, I try to relate these lessons to my everyday life. What trail am I now on? It has been six years since I left my profession. During that time I was able to travel, write, read a lot of books on my lists, and help my husband to make the decision to retire as well, by selling our veterinary clinic (and that was very time consuming!) With the business almost out of the way (I still have to file 2017 taxes!) I feel like I am at a fork in my trail. No, make that not just two choices, but a pinwheel of choices.

Fork number one: I love writing and won’t stop, but I don’t love marketing. There is the constant distraction of life, and I truly get my productive writing done when I am somewhere other than home. My husband doesn’t share my dream of selling everything and living on the road, and in truth it is a pretty wild dream. I am the collector (read hoarder) of the family and I have a big house and it is totally filled with my grandparents furniture, linens, dishes, art supplies, books and more. I really need to start purging now if I plan to do anything five years from now, because at minimum it is a five year job.

My health has to be a priority and I did great for the last three years, but I have slipped. Last week I wrote about my personal challenge and that is a second fork.

Feeling worthy and important are a third fork.

Friends and family a fourth fork.

Is is time for some trail maintenance? Time to look at things, prioritize or just let it all go and live each day for the most pleasure? Will the trail wear out? Fail if I don’t maintain it?

What trail are you currently standing on?