How Long Have I Been Sleeping?

Jackson Browne Fans will recognize that as the evocative first line of his epic song “Late for the Sky.” And that line is followed closely by “How long have I been drifting alone through the night?”

Together they pretty much sum up my past two months, during which I moved, alone, back to the island, and lived, alone, in a self-induced fog of contemplation. Beautiful contemplation, but solitary.

I’m living on my own in the house where I watched Shel die, without even a cat for comfort, and that’s proven to be a lot harder then I’d anticipated. The island has changed a lot in the intervening five years, and so have I. I’m doing a one-woman proof of the old maxim that you can’t go back, only I have. At least for now.

I’ve spent an unfathomable amount of time with my new spirit animal, this harbor seal, who lives just in front of my house, all alone. I look him in the eye as often as possible as if to say “you have a friend, right here,” but perhaps he is indifferent to my attentions, although he does gaze back at me. I look for him often, and always feel better when I see him. That’s how alone I am.

This heron is another solitary soul, an occasional companion, but his voice is a shocking, grackling squawk, reminding me that I used to sing pretty well, and could again. If I had the heart.

Although I don’t want to emulate his singing, I do plan to follow his example in another dimension. Soon, I’ll fly away. I’m a person who’d rather be on land or at sea, but soon I’ll be in the air for some 19 hours, on my way down to the bottom side of the earth, if maps are to be believed. Australia, New Zealand, and amazingly enough, my second visit to New Caledonia are in the offing.

I’ll be leaving the Northwest’s rainy, thundery almost-autumn, and arrive in the southern hemisphere’s early spring. Going back to Sydney feels familiar, I can visualize where I walked, drenched with rain, in search of an elusive opal. This time I’ll be able to visit the Hunter Valley and the Blue Mountains, and I’m hoping not to be too jet-lagged to give them my full attention.

New Zealand will be all new to me, a place I’ve always wanted to go, with so many wineries I long to visit. And no, Tolkien lovers, no Hobbit-related photos are forthcoming, just wineries and whales and Maori sites. All of which sounds like heaven to me.

And then back to New Caledonia, a place that wasn’t even on my radar a year ago, and now this will be my second visit.

Last time I didn’t join people in this beautiful water because: Sharks? Sea snakes? People seeing me half naked? But this time: Screw that! Pack a snorkel, mask, and fins! If people don’t like how I look half-naked they can look at something else! Like: Keep your eyes out for sharks and sea snakes and stinging jellyfish and off of me!

So for the next month I’ll be back on and off a cruise ship, trying to be my best and happiest self wherever I go. Still alone, but more myself than ever. And of course I’ll post it all here. It helps to know you’ll be with me in spirit.

Explore posts in the same categories: Cruising

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7 Comments on “How Long Have I Been Sleeping?”

  1. Aileen La Bret Says:

    Please call me. Aileen La Bret from 87 day cruise with my sister, Nancy Cochran.
    734-459-3914.
    Looking forward to hearing from you, Abrah.

  2. Kim Says:

    So looking forward to your travel diary. Don’t be a stranger on BI. Would love to have cafe or tea or wine and hors d’ouvres any time. Sadly, i was at a life celebration last night where Larry Dewey was playing…and i thought if you and Shel ❤️

  3. barbara jacquin Says:

    I know you’ll have a lot of fun Abra. New places new people lots of new experiences. Looking forward to your posts. Bon voyage!

    Sent from my iPad

  4. heidi husnak Says:

    Seal = soulful eyes. My happiest moment with my son was in a dual kayak in the bay during an explosion of small bait fish. The seals were almost drunk with delight. One leapt over the kayak.

  5. Eliza Ayres Says:

    Reblogged this on Blue Dragon Journal.

  6. Mary Draper Says:

    I hope you get to Queenstown in New Zealand. I thought it was wonderful.

  7. Nicole Says:

    What fun! I’ve really enjoyed your blog posts about transitions, wine, travels, and am looking forward to reading about adventures in the Antipodes. (We might be taking a wine tour to New Zealand next year with Reggie Daigneault.) Stay safe and have fun!


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