The tractor beams that bring us home

I lived in Seattle for about 20 years, but soon after my son was born, I began to feel the urge to move. This was unusual for me because:

  • My father was in the military while I was growing up, and all I ever wanted was Never To Move Again.
  • My marriage came to an end when my son was 12 months old, so if we moved, we’d be doing it on our own.
  • My support network was in Seattle and moving away from it, especially as a single parent, made no sense at all.
  • My father was very ill, and I was making many trips south of Seattle to visit him and support my mother.

But in the fall of 2001, my father died. Three days later, my divorce was final, and a few weeks after that, I got in my car, drove north, got on a ferry, and started looking at property on Whidbey Island. It took about a year to get my house ready to sell, sell it, buy a new house, pack everything we owned, and move.

What possessed me? I still don’t know. Architect Ross Chapin once told me, “Whidbey is a calling,” and I couldn’t agree more. I was “called” so intensely that I felt like I got caught in a tractor beam.

We’ve lived here six years now, and I’ve spoken to many Islanders who felt just as intensely called, in spite of the fact that it can be challenging to earn a living here. Sometimes, when I’m in Langley, I still can’t believe how wonderful life here is, and I expect a klieg light to fall out of the sky, as it did in the movie, “The Truman Show.” (The idyllic island town that Truman lived in turned out to be a movie set.)

There were so many logical reasons for me not to move to Whidbey Island.  But I followed my heart and did it anyway, which just goes to show that I can learn from my mistakes. The rewards are incredible. This place felt like home the moment we set foot on it, and we’ve never been happier.

Before we moved, I felt a sense of longing. I felt receptive and open to the possibility of leaving Seattle, I trusted that moving was the right thing for us to do, and I feel incredibly happy now that I’ve done it.

Longing Receptive

Trusting Happy

Kris Wiltse’s illustrations for the “Longing,” “Receptive,” “Trusting,” and “Happy” cards from the Mixed Emotions card deck.

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