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Life in Portland is good. It’s real good I tell myself objectively. I try to remain positive, grateful, upbeat even. But deep down inside a black cloud lingers in my mind. It is the long nights, cloudy days, and cooling days of fall? Is the prospect of more time inside and less time outside getting me down?

Maybe a little of each, but right now I’m feeling the loss of the endless daylight of summer and the wandering; the unparalleled freedom of movement that comes with the changing nature of water. Alive today with rippled texture, dark and steep tomorrow, still and oily black first thing in the morning, gunmetal grey and choppy by dusk. The land, tamed like my life on it, seems static. Boxed in.

I sit at my desk listening to the rain splatter on the skylight, staring at the white void that is my paper and I try to relive my favorite moments of cruising. Some of the drawings turn out as total junk. Multiple layers of watercolor on expensive paper pool into muddled colors and misproportioned shapes.

Some of the junk slowly reforms with a sharp X-acto knife, like a wave regaining pace in the shallows. It transforms from paper and colors into mountains or a curling fog bank. Soon vast landscapes are re-created in tiny wooden-box dioramas. My boat and my memory become quiet scenes and scary moments, small enough to hold in the palm of my hand, big enough, I hope to keep me going until I can wander again.