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|Seeking the Silence - Page 8|
In a typical gesture of Eskimo hospitality, they gave me a supply of dried whitefish, and we waved good-bye, returning to our separate lives. By now it'd been three weeks since I'd arrived, the longest stretch of time I'd ever been "out there." And though I talked with Janet frequently on the satellite phone, I missed her and was ready to return to family and friends.
You Can Go Home Again
Coming back after a stay in the wilderness can be a difficult readjustment. I'd met up with my outfitter the night before, and he'd whisked me—his 75-horsepower Evinrude at full throttle—back to the bunkhouse, where I immediately fell into my bunk, physically and emotionally drained.
When I woke up the next morning, everything felt like sandpaper against my psyche. Not everyone was shouting, but it sure seemed like it. As I sat eating breakfast in the glare of the dining-room lights with country music blaring from the radio, I was unprepared to be so suddenly reimmersed in the cacophony of contemporary life. Looking for relief, I strolled down to the lakeside, seeking quiet. No luck. The bustle of the day had already begun, and outfitters revved up their motors as a group of fishermen clamored into the boats, coolers in tow, laughing and champing at the bit to get going early and catch the big ones.
I'd never considered the inside of a jetliner to be a place of sanctuary, but as we droned our way back to Baltimore-Washington International, I was glad for the respite. Breathing deeply, I closed my eyes and tried to recapture the calm of the wilderness. Disembarking and walking the long corridor back to the terminal, I spotted Janet peering through the crowd of passengers to find me. I waved both hands, finding the smile on my face reflected in hers. As I popped out of the corridor, we hurried to each other's arms and shared a long embrace.
"I suppose you're tired and would like to go straight home," Janet said. "No," I replied, "Let's celebrate!" and we headed for one of our favorite restaurants, barely aware of the flow of rush-hour traffic that surrounded us. Once there, we clinked wine glasses. "Welcome home!" said Janet simply. "It's good to be back," I smiled—and I meant it.