In Maine we recognize two kinds of people, those who live in Maine and the many visitors “from away.” I left Maine to go to college “away” and since then have mostly been a visitor. Maine has remained the home of my heart.
Then why did I go?
I left to find out what was going on. My farming parents knew some things but not enough. School and Sunday School gave me some odd notions. There were a couple of good teachers and a handful of books such as Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness and Margaret Meade’s report from her first trip to the South Pacific, Coming of Age in Samoa. Having come of age in the Yankee Baptist way without fanfare, without social skills, and without information, I was eager to go in search of my real life, the life I was meant to have.
I loved the mountains and the coast of Maine, yet these could not explain to me what the rest of the world was up to. The prince who might have lifted me out of solitary confusion was delayed or had become lost somewhere. I could not sit and wait.
And so I began a journey. Like the wanderer in an ancient fairy tale I would travel far, suffer dangers, and find treasures, gifts from away to bring back to where I began. Some of these gifts I’ve written up in books. Some are waiting to be shared. I suppose the first audience for my writing and blog is my younger self, the one who wanted to know what was going on.
More widely, my audience is anyone looking for answers to life’s most basic questions: Who am I? How am I supposed to live? How did life on earth get into such a tangle of human suffering? How can I find a mate who will love me and travel life’s journey with me? Where is life intense, real, and true? How can I be part of whatever is going on and not get lost in a corner of the world? The answers to these questions are surprising, often incredible. Of course, my answers may not be your answers. Still I offer them for your benefit.
This blog is for gifts from away.