In my youth, chilling temperatures and changing leaves brought about a rise in anxiety, as autumn’s approach meant a return to school, and I was never a fan. For the past six years, however, autumn has meant a warm remembrance of my time on Orcas Island, providing an opportune time to tumble down a rabbit hole of memories.
The other day, I revisited writings from my three-month stint on Orcas, reliving my adaptation to island life, the pain of editing, and the need to find free activities, as well as two significant turning points: when I began to lose my mind and when I fell in love with a dead man (I have a hunch those two are related).
The time I spent on Orcas was the most creatively productive of my life. This may be because I didn’t see boredom as an option. I imagine this is true for many writers. How can one be bored when there are stories to tell, worlds to create, and characters to bring to life? Any moment spent languishing in a state of ennui is a wasted opportunity. And on Orcas, such a thing was simply not possible. The natural environs, teeming with life and beauty, would not allow it.
Come winter, though, it was time to return to the mainland and commune with other humans. My mind is far too full of fantasy to stay in isolation for long. If I had remained on Orcas past the three-month mark, my grip on reality may have floated away entirely.