A decade of life spent adventuring is what I left behind when I came to live with Kim in the Finger Lakes. At a frantic pace – belayed with an ice axe – I had crossed glaciers and climbed peaks, including majestic Mt. Rainier at 14,400 feet in the Northern Cascades. I had skied and camped for days in the wilderness along frozen rivers, retrieved spinnaker poles from masts in gale winds, followed giant squid in deep, warm Caribbean waters. For the past ten years I had done everything I could to ignore the fact that I felt trapped in a marriage to the wrong person.
With youthful bravado, a young male “companion” and I had left our courses at Bowdoin College for a shack on a beach in Nantucket. In the summer we painted houses and in winter we worked on scallop boats in the bay. They were halcyon days spent surfcasting for bluefish and seabass that we roasted at night on bonfires built in the sand. We drank tankards of beer and sang sea shanties in old seaport saloons. I taught myself to play the harmonica. At night, lying on our backs, our heads cradled in cold dunes, we studied the stars. We needed to learn the constellations so we could navigate our ship when we sailed around the world.
How easy, when young, to fall off a log or marry on a foolish whim. How painful to realize, years later, you made a mistake. Where once all you needed was a beach and stars at night, now there were lawyers and claims to property – who would take the dog? So many nights of dreaming and doubt – of being lost in an old hotel, going from room to room, opening doors and trying to escape on legs that could not or would not move.