There is something so wonderfully and completely satisfying about collecting all of your belongings together, packing them tightly into your car, and heading onto the open road. Of course, this move north that I am making is in no such way as convenient or logistically simple. I have spent hours online and on the phone, making lists upon lists upon lists of detailed arrangements, “to do’s”, appointments, and reservations. This is the first (and I wish it could also be the last) move that involves a U-haul and multiple critters and hours of volunteer assistance from dear friends on both ends of the geographical transition.
This strength I have found to take on such a task surprises me. Somehow, I just continue to will myself to continue making these arrangements and ensuring that each minute detail is taken care of, though not always as smoothly as one would hope. I imagine my body will collapse when finally all has been settled.
I can in no small way take full credit for the strength I am exhibiting during this stressful time. Friends and family have given me help along the way, and I am travelling in the greatest of all possible company – my sister.
It is so rare to have this stretch of quiet, intimate time, perfect for thoughtful contemplation, good conversation, and watching episode after episode of Northern Exposure in the warmth and comfort of our cozy cabin bunk.
It is such a remarkable gift to be given this kind of time together, so rare in the business of each of our dynamic lives. My sister is a bastion of strength and wisdom and comfort to me, the most precious and important person to me in the world, and I am so very thankful to be sitting beside her as the Malaspina drifts and drives persistently and continuously further north.
As I type away in the observation lounge on board the Malaspina, I am also ever aware of the deep, dark, questioning eyes of my two canine companions, able to express such depth of joy and sadness and to bring enormous comfort in times of transition. These stalwart animals lie temporarily trapped in a foreign, vehicular realm on the car deck below. A spacious, fenced-in yard replete with new and exotic smells await them in Gustavus, less than two days’ travel time away.
Port stops at Ketchikan, Wrangell, and Petersburg allow for much needed respite and include images of tiny ranger marieke being dragged on a personal Iditarod behind Boie and Kota, both surging forward with zeal and pent-up energy, breathless excitement and blissful (temporary) disregard for their human counterpart.
Equally compelling and perhaps worthy of note is this fullness of the moon that sheds light on our journey by night. Claude Debussy wrote a piece for the piano that I performed in a recital when I was very young. He titled it “Au clair de la lune” – in the moonlight – and it fits our voyage to the tee, one that retraces a historic route and follows in the oceanic steps of many who have paved the way for and before us. A full moon that marks both an end and a beginning.