Round and round, the cut of the plow in the furrowed field,
Seasons round, the bushels of corn and the barley meal,
Broken ground, open and beckoning, to the Spring,
Black dirt live again!
The Grateful Dead, 'Let it Grow', 1973
I stayed in Portsmouth for a year and a half (from December of 1985 June of 1987), working, thinking, writing, and enjoying the company of a great group of people in a wonderful place.
During those months I would periodically sit back from my coffee and journal and look at my situation and ask myself if I was doing the right thing. Since I had identified the need to 'make something of myself' as a reflex that I didn't want to get sucked back into I took it slow and made sure I changed the question of "should I be doing something else" to "do I WANT to be doing something else". For many months the answer was 'no'.
Late that Spring I turned 21 years old. I passed the day in the only way that made sense. I went to the beach during the day, and in the evening held forth in front of Cafe Brioche on Market Square. I treated myself to a couple of beers as I recall, but nothing extravagant.
The Mustard Seed
During this time I began to read a lot of philosophy and metaphysics. The New Age Movement was hot around this time and right around when I was looking for something to read a Metaphysical book store opened on a side street. Despite it's biblical reference of a name, I started to shop there. I started to hang out there. Eventually they gave me a job there. Now I had more interesting books to read, some very far out people to talk to, and a ready-made social circle of the eclectic weirdos that I have always found so interesting.
I was happy and right at home in Portsmouth. I could see myself settling down there. It was certainly a beautiful place to be. I loved the change of seasons with deep snow in Winter, the welcome Spring, hot Summer, and the electric spectacle of Fall. I was part of a community of people that I really enjoyed. The town just seemed to be growing and I could not be happier.
Summer gave way to Fall and I revelled in Autumn in New England. As it moved into Winter I loved that too snow falling all around and multiple snow days walking the streets and enjoying the complete transformation of deep snow.
I almost forgot about the world outside ...