Whatever day this is, whatever week this is, (because they are starting to blur,) I’m beginning to mark time passing by the food supply being depleted and if it’s time to wash clothes. Unless I accomplish a project that can be a landmark, the miles of these days look very much the same.

I’ve been lucky to have spent time along the Oregon Trail, the expedition of Lewis and Clark, and other historical routes that our forefathers trekked to discover “somewhere” else. I’ve stood and viewed museum displays that offered a glimpse into those wagons and what life might have been like on “the trail.” Momma’s wore their treasured sewing needles in a tiny case like jewelry. She knew she would need a needle to make and repair clothing for her family and most likely, stitch a wound or two. Men always had a pocketknife and it was a heirloom to pass down. There is a trail across America of large pieces of furniture that were considered essential when the wagon train left the east, but discarded along the way as unessential. The weight, the bulk, the impracticality of pianos, chairs and stylish clothing was left behind as they pushed on.

My imaginative self like to step into their sturdy shoes for a bit and try to picture what that life was like. No real direction, maybe occasional wheel ruts of those who had passed this way before to mark the way. But of course, those gouges in the dirt don’t signpost whether it was the best way or not, they just say someone else was here before you.

Keep imagining with me, and realize we are on a similar route right now in our world. No one really knows the road, and we hope we can learn from those that are ahead of us to mark the best way. There are many things that have been discarded because it’s just impractical or too much of a burden. We’ve discovered in our crazy, fast lives that we can actually slow down, and not attend an event every night, or need sports and celebrities to fill our time. We’ve decelerated enough to see some beauty along the way. Those homesteaders had time to smell the grasses of the prairie and recognize the different songbirds trills. We’ve taken more walks and listened to our family members in conversations that wouldn’t have taken place this time last year.

The wagon trails worked together as a community crossing the wide, unknown. Tales were shared about the dangers that might be ahead. Of course, Hollywood has given us lots of images of how dangerous life was with wild animals and attacking Indians. But the thing that is worth noting, when it came time to build camp and be safe, what did they do? They circled the wagons. Why? Of course, it was easier to protect each other if all were within the boundaries of those wagon walls.

We are headed down a unknown trail. We are hoping and praying those leading this expedition are watching and listening for all the markers to keep us on the right and safest path possible. We trust our city and state leaders, our hospitals and medical experts as they give us instructions of how to follow along.

I hope and pray that we “circle the wagons” and protect our community from outside dangers that might harm us. We are headed into what we Grand Lakers know and love as tourist season. People coming from who knows where to bring who knows what into our place.

This is going to be a tough on our area’s economy, but “safer at home” will mean, don’t come into our camp. How will our leaders handle tourists, second home owners, and relatives that want to slide into our area? “Safer at home” means circle the wagons. We’ve got to protect each other. Stay safe on the trail.

Patti Beth Anderson has more than 20 years of experience in the group travel industry taking people all over the world. Her motto is "I return with the same number of people I left with… not necessarily the same people, but the same number nevertheless. So no 'crankpots' allowed" She may be reached at 918-786-3318 or pb@goodtogowithpb.com.