A Mythological Maine Adventure

The schooner materializing from the fog to the east was as natural a part of the landscape as the spruce trees and granite, the bald eagle and porpoises that had visited us that day.

I chuckled at the ship’s arrival; the scene could not have been more quintessentially Maine. This place on the earth has a mythological resonance for me. I grew up here, and this landscape is imprinted within my psyche, the raw material of which my origin story is comprised.

The fog was rolling back in now after granting us a couple hours of sun on this granite-rimmed island on the coast of Maine. We had danced with the leading edge of the mists as we launched earlier that day, and now they were returning. They obscured the islands to the south and advanced across Eggemoggin Reach as we greeted the stunning schooner and followed it Northwest toward our landing.

Wilderness guide and depth psychologist Betsy Perluss (a guest on The Turning Point Summit) wrote in her dissertation of “landscape archetypes,” and how “a living psychological relationship to landscape is an alchemical one in which both the observer and the landscape are transformed.” In this space between inner and outer, spirit and matter, “landscape becomes dream and psyche regains her footing on terra firma. It is here that one rediscovers the primordial, regenerative, and reciprocal bond between psyche and landscape.”

These words hint at the numinous, awe-inspiring experience that this simple afternoon on the water evoked for me. It was much like paddling through a dream or exploring the fictional world of a cherished novel. Ships like the schooner before us have been plying these waters for centuries, and it seems that in their aesthetic sensitivity and sensibility, those who design and build these functional pieces of art draw upon the archetypal energies which flow through these waters and touch the soul. That’s how natural they feel to me in these waters.

To immerse myself in this experience with my father was indeed a magical and regenerative voyage. We each have an origin story, and the piece of earth upon which we roam in our early years seems to imprint itself indelibly upon the psyche. For me, the salted winds and spruce-studded granite islands of Penobscot Bay make up a sacred landscape which I carry within me wherever else on this Earth I may roam.

© 2017 DUSTIN URBAN