Four years ago today, I left my beloved boat – the Delta Queen. It also ended a ten year career of predominately traveling or being underway. I departed from sunshiny, warm, humid New Orleans and landed in cold, grey, rainy Oregon.
Four years now I’ve been on shore. Haven’t been through security checkpoints. No taxi cabs to and from ports or rail yards that no one has any idea how to get to. No sitting around the crew mess, bee-essing with the guys, slamming dominoes.
Four years ago, I came home, unemployed, at the beginning of the recession. Terror. Horror. A relatively new home owner. It was a very scary way to be slammed back into “real life.”
It’s taken four years to really feel like home is here. I miss traveling but I love being here – love experiencing my little town, the Columbia, the history. So many of the things I loved doing out on the boats and train. Exploring and experiencing amazing places on this continent.
I do miss the noises, smells and motions – nothing shore side can replicate the wind while standing on the vestibule or the sounds of waves lapping against the sides of the boat. And nothing, nothing, nothing can replace the sound of the Grand Old Lady’s whistle.
Bittersweet. Not everything was fun and roses – it was a lot of hard work, long hours, constantly having people come and go from our lives. There was heat and humidity and really big bugs. It was coming home to an empty house. Friends moving on in their settled lives. A disconnected adventure.
Four years later, the dreams are vivid; the loneliness and loss is still very much in the forefront of them. But without these experiences, my life now would not, could not be what it is. It is a sweet place, even in the cold grey rain of November and life – in this present moment – is beautiful.