Sunday, December 27, 2015

59. Alan then ponders his situation...

Alan knew he needed to continue making sketches depicting places on New Island for the Tourism Office. That meant he needed to plot out another route to find more of the places on The List.  He looked at it and then decided maybe later.

Just for fun, he laid out the pictures he had made so far. He thought they were basically OK, and hoped the Tourism Office will feel the same about them. 

Then he put the pictures away and looked out the window at Putney Bay. For a long minute his mind just sort of wandered off. 

He thought about Michelle, back in Michigan City. He half-expected a letter from her would be waiting for him, but she didn't have his address. She may have written to his employer, the Tourism Office, but then he wasn't sure her letter would even make it to the island, much less to him. She was the only person he might expect to hear from.

He suddenly wished, with an intense longing, that he had made more friends in his life. He thinks he learned this isolationism from his mom, who, he later realized, was a bit of a recluse. When he graduated from Oceanside High, in California, she made it clear she wanted her own space, mostly by telling him, "I need my own space." She paid for his college room and board at Cal State Long Beach, and he was excited to be there, so he didn't feel too rejected. he saw her rarely during college, and then not at all since he moved to Indiana.

In the years since, his only real friends were his ex-wife Barbara, and then Michelle. 

But here on this island, he's been meeting people. He thought about Chloe, and wondered where she was now, and he remembered Amelia the gossip-journalist surfer, and Carla on the boat, and that he would like to see them again, especially Chloe. Even Jeremy on the train would have been a friend if Alan had been more patient with him. And he likes his neighbor Adrian - they seem to have a lot to talk about. None of this occurred back in Indiana. 

What's going on? Are the people different here?  Am I different? They do seem far more relaxed than anyone I've met back home. I feel like I'm far way from everything I knew in the States, but I feel that the islanders want to know me, or they are simply more outgoing, or I'm more open...who knows?

People are pretty good here, at least so far. Can I trust that?

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

58. Alan ponders strange forces while drawing the train at Sixes

Once back at his place above Adrian's gallery, Alan took some time to settle in.  After all, he had only been there a couple of days before taking this first excursion to make pictures for The List. It seemed like he had been away for ages, and when he dropped his backpack, he suddenly felt very tired. Without another thought, he shed his clothes, climbed into his warm bed (flooded by the late afternoon sun), and slept until the next morning!

At about 7 he woke up quite hungry so he borrowed Adrian's bike and bought some groceries in Hazel. Finally satisfied after downing several eggs, a bowl of cereal, and coffee, he looked around his apartment and thought about how this place is going to be his home for a while. He decided to move his dining table in front of the best window and then laid out his drawing and watercolor supplies. He sat down and pulled out the rough pencil sketch he did of the train stopping at the Sixes station. From that he made a finished drawing, in watercolor, which took him most of the day.

Alan captured the landscape here pretty well, except for some houses. 
Sixes has a population of about 200.

While working on the drawing, he wondered about that weird energy that buzzed through him up on the Wart. What WAS that?  He began to think that there were undercurrents of other forces on this island, and why not? The place has felt a bit strange from the beginning, starting with that whole scene of trying to find the Rudyard Shipping Lines office in Fremantle - why couldn't the cabbie see it? And the quietness of this place, and how there appear to be so few people here; the roads and cafes are nearly empty. He noticed only a few fellow riders on the trains. No one seems to rush to work in the mornings. He also noticed that everything seems old here. The houses and shops in the small towns all seem to huddle in tight clusters - like medieval villages in Tuscany! Ruins thousands of years old seem to be everywhere; even the land itself has a worn-down, ancient look to it.

Life on this island appears to change very slowly here. Is this okay? Is there something going on that keeps it this way?

Late in the afternoon, Alan went downstairs and said hello to Adrian, who surprised Alan with a hug and a cheery "How did it go?" 
"Well, do  you want the short version or the long?"
"Oh, the long of course! Have a seat and I'll pour us a glass of wine."
"Sure, thanks!"  Alan felt better already.

Once settled, Alan told Adrian about The Hook, getting lost out near Paddy, stopping at the inns along the way, the strange rocks at Hoodoo Beach, meeting Chloe and the time they spent together. He mentioned stopping at Hobart and sketching Hobb's Wart but didn't elaborate on his little hike up to its summit, or allude to his recent questioning. Not yet.

Alan wanted to tell Adrian more, but he was tired and just couldn't describe his feelings. Adrian sensed that something was a little off, but he didn't say anything. After they finished the bottle, Alan said goodnight.


 Note: Sixes was somehow left off the road map. 
Here is where it is, if you want to amend your copy.
If you need a map, please click HERE to order one.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Roger's Dreamland

At the end of Twentymile Beach (above), is a large rock where one can stand and imagine yet another level of existence on this island of other levels of existence... 

The large rock, at the beginning of the cliffs in the distance,
is the entry place called Three Rocks.

Around 1871, Roger Putney discovered this place bearing his name during his two-years of solitary wandering. Most of New Island's northern half was unexplored then, and Roger reported back that he found many strange things, including the "Land of Dreams" as he called it.

He remembered that, many years before, the Sacred Otter described a magical land, and how to get into it. Roger found the large rock the Otter had described, and discovered carved within it a narrow platform overlooking the ocean.  "Here," the Otter had instructed, "Close your eyes and dream of another place that is pleasant to explore, where you are cared for, and where you can simply be."  While walking on the island's northern coast, Roger spotted the large rock the Otter described, and then found the carved-out platform! He meditated briefly on the existence of this "dream land", and sure enough, before him appeared an entirely new landscape, with a pinkish cast in the light, and emanating an inviting, yet haunting feeling. He decided to trust his instincts, stepped off the rock, and indeed found the place to be "quite agreeable" in his words.

Ever since, many "dreamers" have ventured into Roger's Dreamland, and most have come out. Many keep their experience there to themselves; some complain that it was boring or creepy, and others simply show a satisfied grin. It is all up to the beholder.

A favorite Dreamland spot is West Beach,
here recorded in a watercolor by a dreamer who returned...
Mapping Rogers Dreamland has been challenging. 
The orange-tinted landmass shown here is derived from information and sketches provided by
those who have been there. However, individual experiences tend to vary.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

57. Alan Returns to Hazel

Alan finally arrived back at his lodgings above Adrian's gallery.
Up on the Wart, Alan almost tried out the hollowed-out form, but stopped short...this thing looks plain creepy!  And then he felt a strange and violent surge of energy through his body, something like an electric shock. Oooh...this does NOT feel good...maybe this place really is haunted, and maybe its trying to tell me something...

He backed off, and the chilling vibration receded as he moved away from that form-thing. He retraced his route back down as quickly as he could, noticing that it was getting dark way too fast! He was shivering, though it was a warm evening. Once off the stone steps and on the lower slope, however, he could still see the path, and he felt much better. As he walked back toward Hobart's main street, Alan, still agitated by the weird energy up there, decided to return to the Highbrow just to talk to anyone there for a while. He wanted to decompress, before trying to sleep this off. 

A fellow on the next stool, a guy named Stan, seemed willing to talk about the Wart when Alan brought it up (as casually as he could). Stan told him that the Wart has been, as long as he can remember, the source of many stories: People disappearing, strange lights, odd jarring sounds more felt than heard, People returning but in a wide-eyed, zombie-like state that lasted for days. Alan didn't offer that he'd just been up there, but his questions began to trouble Stan. He leveled a look at Alan, and said that no one in Hobart likes to talk about that Wart, and that He, Alan, shouldn't mention any of this once he leaves here.


Alan left Hobart early the next morning. He walked the three or so miles to the train stop at Sixes, to catch the Victoria-Putney train to Hazel. He had a while to wait, so he began to sketch the tiny Sixes station, and hoped he could capture the train moving into it! This would complete the first leg of his assignment -- he still needed a picture of a New Island train. 

Alan is waiting for a train like this one.