What Falls Away

Clear water

“North of the Tension Line” is the unofficial slogan of Washington Island. It is a small place, and remote, and somehow, I think, terribly vulnerable. But it is a place where life returns to its essence. The bustle, the ugliness, the incessant alarms of technology are there if you seek them out. But the stillness of yourself, the humming of the universe, the roll of the water all create a renewal of the soul.

Everyone has a different way of describing the experience. A friend commented that she felt as if she had fallen off the edge of the earth. An islander told me that from the moment she stepped onto the ferry she could feel anxiety slip away. For me, it is a sense of stepping out of an image and into reality, as if the rest of life is staged, but this place, and yourself in it, is what is true.

Maybe this is an island phenomenon. But I think it is just this island.

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