This week we welcome the wonderful writing of Corky Parker to The Rainshadow Journal. Corky has been living in two worlds for a number of years, between a home in Port Townsend and running the eco-lodge La Finca Caribe, on Vieques Island, Puerto Rico. I’ve been following her blog over the last fews years and was delighted she wrote to me to see if Rainshadow was interested in her latest work, her sale of La Finca Caribe and sailing away to the Northeast, and eventually back to the Northwest. We open this series with her reminiscing about the meaning of leaving.

What is it about today? Why do I suddenly feel the pull to write — after months…okay, years. The late afternoon sun on my desk has put my little studio corner in the spotlight. Maybe my pens and paint are just asking to be played with, at least recognized for being here and ready.

Maybe its just that absolutely everything is in its place — finally — and like never before. I always get like this before I leave — getting things wonderfully in order for the incoming renters. But it’s heightened with this exit. Everything I’m leaving seems somehow intensified; more beautiful or important than usual.

They say you don’t know what you have until it’s gone…truth is, sometimes you can see the going coming.

Like my leaving. Like the terribly sad state of the world right now, and watching peace and a stable climate slip away. The more overwhelming it gets, the more beauty I find, and solace I get, from everyday things and moments.

Like how I think I’ll be losing my big old black dog Magnet soon. She’s an almost impossible 16 years old. Every time I leave I’m afraid it will be the last time I see her. But this time, it’s different. I am more aware of her and our relationship. I’m cherishing our time together. I’m hanging out on the floor with her. Focusing on the sweetness of it, rather than the sadness. I feel it coming. Her looming death is part of a new and growing mortality awareness. At any given time I have a handful of friends now who are dealing with illnesses, or living with new conditions. I think I’ve entered that chapter, where mortality, and endings are just part of the picture. Loved ones, dogs, normal weather, common sense. Lots of things seem to be waning.

And that gets back to why leaving makes sense. Not just leaving for the sake of adventure, but to follow dreams I’ve had forever, to make beginnings, before more endings. Even if it means leaving loved ones, this great old dog, and this sweet little corner of the world for a while.

We’re about to embark on a maiden voyage. On my very own boat. My very own dream. Or my half of it. My sweetheart Kip, will be living out his as he is co-owner. When we first re-met last year, flirting, we’d talk about about sailing off to the sunset together. And here we are —sailing away. We found a 36’ sloop that has everything we want (room to live for the summers) on the Chesapeake Bay. Our first trip starts next week, taking her the 600 miles home, to Kip’s place in Vinalhaven, Maine. Don’t worry, three salty pals have signed up to crew.

So I guess it’s a two-for-one dream-come-true: the eastern seaboard voyage is one big ass fantasy; and then, the even bigger adventure —life, and all that awaits after that, for whatever time or the fates will give us. I’ve weathered enough to know things could/will likely change before too long. So for now, I think the official term is “eff it”. We’re going for it. Going for the gusto while we can.

When I ask for permission or blessings from my kids, its “Heck yeah. Go for it, mom. You taught us how” so I’m good there. And although I’ll miss the grandkids something terrible…I figure it won’t be too many years before I’m wishing them well on grand adventures, and God forbid, I may finally be too old for my own by then. So — I’m off tomorrow. For dreams, or grand adventures, or just living the life I want — even with breakdowns, weather, faulty navigation systems and what all else awaits. If I’m lucky enough to get everything in its place on board, who knows, maybe I’ll get the inkling to write again. Hopefully with the same sense of home I feel right here.

—Corky Parker

LA FINCA Love, Loss, and Laundry on a Tiny Puerto Rican Island


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