Sunday, October 14, 2012


I often talk about the need for patience in the writing world. This past week, I was reminded that patience is valuable while traveling also.

Traveling not only requires patience, but teaches it. When the daily to-do lists shrink from more than a dozen items to just a few (eat, hike, read, spend time with husband), the pace of life slows. There is time to admire the way the sun hits yellow aspen leaves, time to hike up a canyon and view an arch of rock, time to test the echo against a sheer wall of rock (the report from a handclap bouncing back, a second later, as sharply as a rifle shot), time to sit beside a lake and have a sandwich.

And when things don't go exactly as planned--when you discover your car has a flat tire--you discover that what would have sent you into a frustrated tailspin several years ago is something you shrug about. And then the blessings happen. Two maintenance men from your resort happen to be walking by with a compressor, and they inflate the tire so you can get to the rental-car place. When the next glitch happens--the rental place has no replacement cars that day--you find a nearby auto shop that fixes the tire by nine-thirty in the morning, and you end up having a full day of hiking after all. You hike up mountains and around lakes. But the best part is that you haven't freaked out; you've rolled with it. Is it because you've already spent days at a remote guesthouse near Capitol Reef, in the shadow of geologic formations whose beauty shows the slow passing of ages, the nights so clear you can see the veil of the Milky Way? Is it because you're now hiking in mountain country, where you scarcely see another person and you can hear yourself think? Is it because the night before your trip, you were at a memorial service for a friend whose life was too short?

Impossible to say. But while you sit in the auto shop, you just look out at the golden leaves on the mountain behind you, and wait without fretting. At the end of the trip, there has been time to do everything you wanted. Even when the rain pours down on the last day, you head to a bookstore with friendly employees and congenial fellow writers; you have dinner with writers, talking shop about the ups and downs of this life.

Now you begin to ease back into the daily busy-ness.

In closing, I'll say that for those of you near Salt Lake City: The King's English bookstore now has signed copies of The Secret Year and Try Not to Breathe.

And here's a shout-out to Mercer Automotive of Park City, Utah; the employee at the Park City Marriott who recommended them; and the two guys with the compressor.


  1. Aw, Jenn. You're growing up! And you vacationed not far away from my new home in Colorado. Thanks for sharing the patient journey. Beautiful.

  2. I loved reading this! Car troubles are always my greatest source of worry on a vacation. I'm happy yours didn't end up being too big of a hindrance! Also, it was so wonderful to meet you!

    1. You too! And yeah, it was funny how things just fell into place with the car.