Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Behind The Blue Door

~ My Whidbey Island Adventure ~

Part I: The Magic Portal

After fantasizing most of my life about running off to a 'deserted island', I finally did it! I ran away to the land of my dreams. Originally, this was my mother's fantasy, but I became infected with it as well.

So how was it? Well, for starters it wasn't deserted at all: it overflowed with life!

On the Island, behind The Blue Door, a sacred abode awaited me. This adorable room held a secret that had been well hidden before my arrival. The Blue Door wasn't what it seemed. I would not discover this, however, until long after my return home.

I was so excited about this get-away that I  spent an entire week slowly packing. I  left  our sleepy little mountain village, early that morning, trading a peaceful redwood corridor for the woes of morning rush hour on the Silicon Valley freeway. Then parking lots, shuttle bus rides, airport chaos, a bumpy jet flight, and crowds galore.

After landing at the Seattle airport, I stepped off the plane fully prepared to enter The Magic Portal, immediately. While lugging my heavy suitcase, I found my way to the rental car kiosk, ignorantly thinking I was, 'but a heartbeat away', from the Ferryboat that would take me to my Island. (on the map, everything looked so much smaller and closer!)

Since I had ignored all the pre-wrapped snack bar food, while passing numerous airline counters, I was starting to get hungry--and inclined to feel sorry for myself. But something familiar intervened: One of my secret powers. (It's actually a force, an energy), which has the handy ability to totally obliterate the very IDEA that problems actually exist. This simple 'acknowledgment' is how I tend to 'refresh my mind-browser'. It can instantly 'poof' such bad ideas right into thin air, with a calm smile. 

Onward! We are almost there! The Force suggested.
Reconnected once again--the 'smile upon my soul' was back! The innate spirit of ADVENTURE had taken on a life of its own (which had been slowly spreading like stealth wildfire, throughout my cells for weeks now), so this dream-trip journey had acquired an ability to suffuse my whole being, with infectious promise!

Driving through Seattle, my rental car tackled a massive urban sprawl that dwarfed any freeway in my home town. I survived late afternoon rush hour traffic, trying not to get lost, and having to change lanes amidst throngs of impulsive drivers, darting in and out. (On the map, everything looked so much simpler.) 

I took sanity breaks! One of Seattle's many 'university areas' had a Whole Foods market. On a stop for something to eat (finally!), I strolled around the neighborhood, drawing deeply upon the vitality, of all the nearby 'college kids', who were out and about. Then I loaded up with provisions before heading off to the Island. 

Finally, I found the Ferry Boat entrance, where an elaborate system, of waiting lines simply meant more hours must pass, before we would actually board the gigantic ship, but luckily, I had brought along my I-pod (with a full battery)! 

While waiting in line, I tried to draw comfort, knowing that eventually, I would be delivered into Paradise with a blissful smile of satisfaction on my face! After all, I was on my way, at last, to the legendary Whidbey Island! But 'the hoped for thrill' simply could not find its way through the weariness that had begun to deflate me, as the wait dragged on.

At last, I was able to enter into the belly of this massive ship, where my car was dutifully sandwiched among rows and rows of vehicles. Totally depleted by now, however, I had neither steam, nor stamina, left over, to even care about the view anymore; nor to get out and survey the scenery that slowly inched away behind us. 

If I wanted to watch the coast of Whidbey Island draw imperceptibly closer, it would mean getting across to the other side of the ship. But I literally could not budge from my seat inside the car. 

Weary and dejected, I pouted all alone in my vehicle while others got out of theirs, to visit the snack bar. I stared blankly through large open squares along the sides of the ship, as vista views of the coastline lost its charm. The mainland grew more distant, while my stamina faded with every inch that crept between us, and the continent.

My spot, near an open-air window, faced the land, that grew smaller in our wake. Early twilight began to play with the setting sun, the sparkling water, and the golden glow of the continent behind us. (So much for thinking I would still arrive with plenty of daylight to find my way!)  

I just sat and stared off toward the Northeastern side of Seattle's proud skyline, where monotonous, dense forests blanketed the receeding shoreline. We inched along so slowly that it was not clear if our Ferry was really moving. It made no sound. 

Exhausted by long lines, chaotic traffic, endless miles, and all the extra hours that had somehow slipped away, I just sat there, numb and weary. One by one, lights began to twinkle from hidden seaside dwellings along the coast, as dusk closed in. 

Finally we pulled into the Clinton Ferry Dock. So, I turned the motor on, and drove onto the island, where I unceremoniously followed the signs to Cultus Bay. Not exactly the glorious arrival I had imagined!

Fortunately, the directions my hosts had given, to find the vacation rental were perfectly easy to follow. James, who commutes to his job at a Seattle university, met me in the driveway, when I arrived. Friendly and warm, he helped carry my luggage through their home and down the inside stairway to my own area. I met his wife Janet, a social worker, as I paused briefly in their living space upstairs. They were very sweet folks, within my general age range; so solid, kind, and settled, that it felt like I was coming home to family. 

Once downstairs, and alone in 'my quarters', I just stood there. FEELING IT. Exotic and serene, at once. Better than the photos online. This refuge was vibrant and alive. The very space was saturated with life-force. My stunning view from the deck outside, overlooked the cozy harbor of Cultus Bay. It was an exquisite painting, come to life!

When I first stepped through the threshold, and stood inside the rumpus room, closing the door behind me, all I knew was that I felt safe, free, and utterly, deliciously alone. Slowly, I began to inhabit these precious quarters, unpacking and setting up my new life. Moving my stuff into the intimate bedroom item by item, and allowing the space to remain prominent, as 'my things' found their niche in closet or shelf, until the idea of 'impact' became synonymous with order, function, and above all: invitation! All you need to do here, is BE! (this precious refuge whispered, over and over again…)

A perfect balance of 'nestled and vast' embraced me with loving arms. A sense of limitless expanse, and warm shelter, permeated the territory where I would reside. The hallway between kitchen and bedroom was a corridor of passage: an enchanted portal into 'my self' (something that had become lost across the decades). I set up my sweet little bathroom last of all, then surveyed my new world. And it was just right!

Dwelling in a place with glass walls was a new experience. It was getting dark when I arrived. I stepped out onto the balcony overlooking the harbor homes, and docks. Lights were lit up along the scenic waterway, Reverence fell over everything. Stillness and beauty prevailed. The mainland was a blur of distant lights across the Puget Sound.

My first night demanded absolutely nothing from me. No thoughts of tomorrow, nor the life that I had left behind me. No plans of any sort. No time frame. No thoughts of Langley and the adventures that lay ahead, nor of my appointment to make a piece of hand-blown glass at Callahan's studio. Just sink into the warm comfort of bed and nothing more. The week that followed would bring delightful exploration, discovery, and just plain fun--but for that first night: merely sanctuary. And infinite permission… to do absolutely nothing but exist.
~ ~ ~

If you want to see some of the magic this place does offer; here is a sweet video introduction. For me, it brings back memories of special places and times. Langley, as the 'Heart of Whidbey' in my experience, is where community gathers. It's also a lovely place to walk around in peaceful solitude.

. . . To Be Continued . . .

video from: