One of the stated purposes for coming up here (that I stated to myself) was to do some soul-searching and reconnecting with the person I think I am or who I thought myself to be or even who I want myself to be. It’s not come easy in the last 2-and-a-half weeks…there’ve been openings to attend, there’s been work to help friends with, there’s been a teeny tiny house to set up and a job to find and learn. There’s been a lot of sleep and a lot of crappy weather. The weekly influx of close friends began this week. The “season” started….and on and on.
So the fleeting moments of self-connection and self-awareness are few and far between. But cherished nonetheless.
And so it happened tonight that I was hit with a full-on, body-blocking, face-check realization of just how much this move and this place and my life and my friends and the inner-connectivity of Cape and Atlanta people and what’s happening around me mean to me.
Joel’s space on Commerical St. is an amalgamation art gallery/retail/real estate office. It is the product of a year or two of dreaming and planning, a hard 6-weeks of physical labor and a fucking big roll of the dice financially. This hybrid space stands alone in Provincetown, where art galleries, kchotchke stores and real estate offices are a dime-a-dozen. His partners Meg and Maureen are seasoned, local, jack-of-all-tradeswomen. That they’ve lucked upon each other is remarkable.
That this venture brought streaming tears of joy to my eyes is no less outstanding.
I am having problems describing tonight, their opening. I pretty much “worked it,” cleaning, restocking, making the bar. I did it unasked, unprompted and totally voluntarily. 2 hours of my work to help the dreams of dear friends launch successfully is no skin off my back. That’s one of the beautiful things about Life On The Vortex….that, what ever you put out — emotionally or physically — comes immediately right back to you. There’s none of the anonymity of the big city. This is a crazy small town and the oats you sow are solely yours to reap.
And so it was tonight.
The first deluge of tears came while reading the artists’ statements displayed around the space. There were Atlanta and Ptown friends’ works. Those written statements illustrated to me the connections that create the very fiber of my life: the values and humor and ethics and aesthetics that bond my world and those in it. So, in the intense dusk sunlight, amid laughter and music and beauty, I wept for the first time.
And I wept again on my bike, on the way home, listening to the happy noise on the street and the silence, catching glimpses into well-lit homes and thinking of the joy and modesty of Marc and Evan, who, afraid to detract from the Opening celebration, kept their engagement — their life commitment made this very afternoon — to themselves.
Rarely do I become overwhelmed by emotion. It’s just not who I am and just not something I’m programmed to do. I feel things deeply, but those feelings are mine and they’re intensely personal and not something I’m quick to share. And when, tonight, I took Joel’s hands and said, “I’m sorry, but I need to sneak out. This is too much for me,” he said, “I know, just when I think I couldn’t be any happier, something like this happens.”
And so it is with Provincetown. A swirling vortex, somewhere out in the Atlantic Ocean, where people smile, doors are unlocked, status is the rustiest bike and it matters not your worth or your job or the nameplate on your car.
And Love is so palatable you can taste it. And well you should.
Part of the Cape’s great appeal to me is the weather: the gorgeously clear days and moderate temperatures are intoxicating to say the least. I’m not so naive to think that it’s always like that. There’s the harsh reality of winter and as the saying goes, a little rain must fall in everyone’s life. But to go from the overwhelming beauty of Atlanta’s almost pornographic Spring to 2 solid weeks of “Foggy and 55” is a bit of downer, to say the least.
Well, this morning the Cape has come through for me in spades. Sunny, clear and 65, there’s a cool breeze blowing through my tiny apartment. The harbor is its familiar azure blue, not a roiling mass of angry white caps. I can see across to Wellfleet and Truro.
The town is deceptively still, awaiting the first crush of the season, appropriately called Baby Dyke Weekend. Imagine 10,000 22-year old Massachusetts lesbians, fresh off their spring semester at Junior College, ready to get their party on. This is the only time in 12 years of coming here that I’ve seen fights on Commercial St — girl-on-drunken-girl brawls usually involving some infidelity and at least a 12-pack of Milwaukee’s finest. Oy.
So, I’ll take the good with the bad. I’ve got friends from Atlanta arriving tomorrow (male and female) and although I have to work, I’m looking forward to the flurry of activity the weekend will bring. Let’s start the summer, y’all!!
So, I quit my job of 19 years, leased the house and moved to Provincetown.
That sounds rediculously easy and in some senses it was. But the decision to leave Atlanta, my chosen family there, two decades of history and community and close proximity to my aging parents was not at all taken lightly. The idea of spending at least the summers, or even a single summer, here on the end of the Cape has been in my head since my first visit here in 2000. Former readers and anyone who knows me will know that this place has struck a deep and instant sense of home with me. Just when I think I have it figured out, the Vortex springs another surprise, some new hidden treasure or gem of a person and I’m flabbergasted.
So a slowly deteriorating job situation (mostly by my own doing, I’ve since realized), smart financial planning and the impetus of other friends making the move got me thinking. And acting. The last piece of the puzzle to fall into place was leasing my beloved house on 5th Street. When the couple who are now tenants said they wanted to rent, I was almost physically ill. I felt as if I was giving away a child. But I did it – signed the lease on Sunday and resigned on Monday.
That 100-year old house in Midtown is a gift from God, I believe. Something greater than myself to which I am beholden. It has enabled so much in my life, including this move. I don’t normally put much stock in such talk, but I think that house has a spirit, a soul, that has given so much to me: laughter, shelter, nourishment, inspiration, friendship, challenge, prosperity and much, much more.
So here I am. In Provincetown. At the end of Cape Cod. Looking out to sea, but really looking west. Not sure about what’s coming tomorrow or even in 20 minutes. The possibilities are endless for one of the precious few times in my life. It feels good. It’s scary as hell. I’m paralyzed and highly motivated.
Here we go.
So, here I am, blogging again. Lots has changed. Lots. Be patient and I’ll tell the story.