I'm loading my life onto my little boat and leaving North Haven tomorrow. Tools, rope, clothes, chainsaw, guitars, groceries. It's another wrenching twist in the belly. I've been dreading the day, and yet am anxious to get going.
Let me raise my glass of cheap white to a place that took me in for a time. A hard time made better by good people.
I showed up a green boat operator never having been more than a mile or so from Matinicus, in late November at dusk, hesitantly nudging up the Fox Islands Thorofare, frozen brittle and looking for my friend's mooring. "Excuse me, can you tell me which mooring is Elaine's? She said it was next to a blue boat, Casie Jo or something." "That boat's out of the water, I'll show you." The first person I met was welcoming and helpful and especially so 'cause he advised me about a rock that I did not see on the chart. That experience repeated itself over and over again.
There was an offer to cut blow downs to feed the stove in my wife's ravenous and sieve-like rental home. Then there was "come over and cut some of what's behind the shop. You can use my splitter and the pickup truck to haul it home." It only got better. "Just come take my stuff. It's all split and dry. I'll never burn it all."
A cold call to a plumber's answering machine got returned with a job offer. That NEVER, EVER happens.
Smiles. Helping hands. Welcoming. Sheltered coves in a turbulent winter. High, windy places to carry off a spirit where the hawks and eagles go. Warm windows. A table set. Goodbyes only for now.
Here's to all of you. Really, thank you. I will do my best to pass along the kindness I've been blessed with here.
People in emergencies sometimes get classified based on their level of awareness and orientation. Do they know what day it is, where they are, or even their name? Oriented times 1 is where you only know who you are.
When every external attachment has been torn away, there is only the raw, primal self awareness. The trick is to keep that orientation. To lose and not be a loser. To grieve and not be a grievant. To have the wind knocked out of you by life's punches and keep giving, keep turning the other cheek. To love just because. To be. Oriented times 1.