In My Happy Place


I am in my happy place – an unusual turn of events for a Monday. I’m texting my young backpacking friend Blake about our camping trip this weekend. We have about 5-9 of us that will be hiking/backpacking/camping this weekend at DeSoto National Forest on the Tuxachanie Trail. Blake is cooking a turkey chili for everybody Saturday night, and we’ll be relaxing by the fire with herbal tea and hot chocolate on Friday. Blake says he puts himself to sleep at night lately with a nice chamomile and green tea mixed with a capful of moonshine! It’s just the right mix of country and natural highs. He said,” Consider it a coonass-mixed-with-hippy-type-of-combo.” Alrighty, then!

Badass Backpackers from yesterday

I keep thinking back to our hike yesterday at Tickfaw State Park. All of these folks I’m hiking with are brand-new friends. I met Lisa at the Women in Transition Meetup right before Christmas, and I told her about the hiking club. Blake and Duane came to the tree farm hike with the Hiking Club, and we somehow all started talking with the same level of enthusiasm about making new friends and starting our new hiking hobby. And, of course, I met all of my backpacking class a few months ago. The Badass Backpacking Group is starting to gel, and it makes me happy to see that we are already growing too. I love nothing more than making new friends. It makes my extrovert very happy.

A scene from the tree farm hike where we met Blake and Duane.

Our group yesterday kept getting lost. Most of us had been there but none of us could remember anything about the trails. We laughed about how “badass” we really were as it seemed we couldn’t find our way out of a paper bag. In fact we laughed a lot. Duane was our resident male, and he took care of the three of us gals finding less muddy areas to walk through and scouting out the trails ahead of us. But mostly we talked. We all seem to need each other  – and hiking – for different reasons right now, and it really makes me happy that we’ve found ourselves on this path together at this particular time. At one point during our hike yesterday, we all stopped on the boardwalk and talked about our histories and what brought us to this point in our lives. It just felt really good to me, and I find myself filled with gratitude about it.


I have a new boss at work, and the change will eventually lead to a new role. It won’t be totally different as I’m in the same organization, but I will be meeting new people and working on new projects. I may move to a new office downtown. I’m happy for the change as change is always good. I’ve been here over two years, and my ENFP likes to change about every two years at work. I hope it will be a good thing. I got a chance to sit down with my new manager today, and he’s a hiker, too. We had lots in common and a similar working style. After my meeting, I got to have lunch with my current team-mates – a rare event when all three of us can go to lunch. For a Monday, it was a really good day.

I came home, walked Ashok for about 30 minutes and took a hot bath while I applied some deep conditioner to my curls. It felt good after being cold all day to soak in a hot tub. While my curls dried, I cooked some lima beans, pork loin and buttered cabbage for dinner. It was delicious. After cleaning up, I practiced yoga with and got all stretched out and ready for a good night’s sleep. I didn’t sleep very well last night. I’m not sure why, but I hope that tonight will be a bit better.

The Badass Backpackers at Clark Creek a few weeks ago. (Blake is on the back left.)

I had my first birthday celebration today at Las Palmos Mexican restaurant where they sang Happy Birthday to me and gave me some sopapillas for dessert. Yeah… I had some sugar today. Jennifer, my teammate, was worried that today really wasn’t actually my birthday, but heck, it’s my only birthday celebration with them. What’s the harm? As far as I’m concerned, it’s time to celebrate. I wish I was younger than 55, but I’m glad to be here. It sure beats the alternative.

Mike, one of the Badass Backpackers, had his 65th birthday last week. He took a hike and was noodling what it felt like to be 65 and lucky enough to be alive and kicking on this planet. He wrote a beautiful poem that he was excited to share with me because it’s my birthday, too. Enjoy the poetry. I hope you are in a happy place, too.

Mike – our poet – living large on our backpacking trip! He brought his own home-made grill and grilled a steak while we salivated. Happy 65, Mike! May we walk many more miles together. 🙂

Sunset Park by Mike Henderson

I took a walk in Sunset Park
a pretty place to consider fate
it’s a secluded place
for recreation and play
one of the places
where Mandeville meets the lake
and says goodbye
to the descending sun
each and every day
— as it simply fades away

I smoked a cigar
because my phone was broke
and it was my birthday
so I couldn’t write a note
to anyone about anything
especially about
the meaning of aging
and still being alive
— at sixty-five

well, what more is there to say
— anyway

So I walked the shimmering shore
I walked the lush green field
I even had time
to walk the asphalt lot
— to the very last parking spot

As my cigar had become
short and stout
I looked there for a place
to put it out

This is what I found
on this remote area
of sacred ground:

Marlboro butts
crushed Budweiser cans
a discarded condom
lying out of place
on the grass
but no, actually right in place
— having done its task

Some things in life
never change
the plot, the passion
the script, the setting
the clarity, the confusion
the climax, the conclusion

It’s the similar actions
in the same space
and it’s simply the actors
who must be replaced

And even those
who defiantly refuse
to leave the stage
should know it’s only a ruse
demanding a starring role
to perform each and every day

For they too, like old soldiers,
like the descending sun
— must simply fade away


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