Part One of Chapter One: from Safety to Complexity

Published on 2018-08-08

Midmorning February 18, 1989, I was driving a white 1987 jeep north from New York City in a white out blizzard. My rescue animals, Bear, my dog and my cat Blue and I were headed to Rockland, Maine. Normally, that is an eight-hour drive. I had left about eight AM. I lost track of time as miles of empty highway went by in a white blur punctuated by the occasional semi pulled up on the side of the road. Driving stubbornly forward, I squinted into the future beyond my windshield that entire day. We got to the motel across from the ferry landing on Main Street that evening, about ten hours after we’d left, in time for the only trip to Vinalhaven Island at seven AM the next day. When Bear, Blue and I boarded that morning on foot, l had to leave my car and all my worldly belongings behind in the empty mainland parking lot. That was not an easy decision. I had just spent the past three years living in the wilds of an ungentrified Brooklyn, across from a meth house in the later eighties. One didn’t even leave a notebook in a car parked on Union Street in Brooklyn in the eighties, let alone, a pile of computers, clothing and household essentials.

As the boat pulled out of the harbor with us, I watched signs of land quickly disappear under white drifts and clouds of snow whose boundaries merged into ever more whiteness. Waves were breaking over the ferry roof. The boat was covered with thick ice and rocking violently in Noreaster winds. Only one other passenger was on board as we turned East into the Atlantic Ocean. As Blue’s crate flew across the cabin floor I turned to her. “This is the most exciting thing I’ve ever done!” What was exciting was the feeling that I had embarked on a grand adventure into an unknown world of mystery and beauty. The sense of danger from the storm, which was very real, only heightened my sense that nothing would be the same at the end of my journey. It was the experience of stepping off a cliff with the faith that the imaginary wings of my intuition would take me someplace irrevocably wonderful.