If there are lines of force in the Pabloverse, I am convinced that – for the moment – Port Townsend is where they converge at a magnetic pole. The delightful, improbable serendipities are just too frequent here for any other explanation. It’s as if the needle of my internal compass spins in eddies here, as though there’s nowhere else it can find to point.
There is, of course, this stage of romance whenever you fall in love with a new place (or person); a time when everything is magical, where no wrong can be done. And one of the thrills of travel is being able to do this over and over again, knowing that Kyoto and Bali and Point Reyes will not think worse of you for going on to fall in love with Istanbul and Punta Arenas.
But it’s also a time for learning more about yourself, a time to reaffirm things that you’ve always known were a part of you and a time to feel your heart flutter at things you never knew you cared about. The past three days were filled with outdoor movies on hay bales downtown, street corner jazz and rambles deep into ancient, pathless woods. Rolling banks of fog, luminous, Turneresque seacapes and – sorry, Coupa – the consistently best damned cappuccino I’ve ever had.
Port Townsend is a small town – I feel I practically know half its residents already – and it seems to have drawn in kindred spirits like some cosmic lint filter. Strangely wonderful and wonderfully strange people. People who dance unabashedly with their sweeties to street music. Little kids who don’t think twice of asking a stranger if they can borrow your phone to call mom for a ride home. And I keep making new friends and reconnecting with old ones. Last night found me at an Antarctic wedding reception for two folks I know from the icebreaker; I had no idea they even lived here until yesterday morning.
It would be all too easy to lose oneself into the fantasy of simply surrendering to the urge and moving up here. All too easy.
But I know these whirlwind romances, whether with places or people, cool down. Eventually, you come to ground and when you do, you have to grapple with the question of whether there’s a comfortable place for you there as well. I am trying to temper expectations. Maybe after a little while PT would start to feel too small. Maybe six months of real winter rain would drive me crazy. Maybe that next place Devon and I visit will steal my heart away – it certainly wouldn’t be the first time. The earth’s magnetic pole are constantly in motion; why should ours be any different?
Those are questions for the future. For now, my compass is pulling me here, and it would be a shame to deny the magic of these new loves. It would be a shame to not let myself swirl around and embrace the splendor of the moment. At least for a couple of days…