A short story from: Coastal Maine in Words and Art: Gallery Fukurou’s Reflections by Maine Writers, 2019.

© Khristina Marie Landers, 2019

Sails, photographic art by Ramona du Houx

The sun bathed my grandfather’s sailboat, Heaven’s Gate, with a light I had never seen. I’d been out to sea hundreds of times, but this morning the colors morphed into a legendary passage. I lay flat on my back, drifting out to sea. My grandfather said there are days when portals open to Heaven’s Gate, and I always loved his stories.

“Beware of the fairy light!” He and I had been drifting for hours; this spring was more rainy than most, filled with more days of fog than I care to recount. Today the sunshine melted into ripples of white billowy sails that looked like feathers that needed to fly.

“Be careful, girl! You will get lost, if you drift for too long.”

Ever since my grandfather’s passing, I spent more time than ever out to sea. He was still there on that boat, guiding her and me at every turn. Today was one of those days, when the sea let me drift deeper, somewhere between here and there. I knew better than to drift for too long. Peeking over the rim of my glasses, I caught a glimpse of it again, as the waves rocked us like a child it wished to sooth. I grew sleepy under its rhythmic spell.

“Fairy light? Tell me more about fairy light,” I whispered between a big yawn, as if he could answer me from the other side of the sail.

A gentle breeze reminded me the sea’s portals swell with the tide; these portals close with the new moon, opening with the full. When all is right, you can see fairy light. Grandfather always reminded me to keep the sun as my anchor: “Where is your anchor?”

He was my anchor; like the promise of the high tide, he was my rock. Knowing he had traveled free of his pain gave me some comfort, but helped little to keep me from following in his footsteps, towards the secrets he kept. Today was no different.

“Where is your anchor?” His voice whispered stronger across my bare skin as a breeze picked up and took the sail into its grasp, tugging the rig, as if it were going to go on an adventure.

I woke from my slumber in delight and fright, feeling the full force of the waves shifting beneath me, as I was guided back from the edge. Leaning over the edge of the boat, her reflection glimmered, like a dream, with the sparkling blue letters: Heaven’s Gate. Double checking the anchor, sure enough, it had held there all along.


Coastal Maine in Words and Art: Gallery Fukurou’s Reflections by Maine Writers, 2019 was published after a contest for writers to create stories to accompany art photography that depicted Rockland and the coast in its myriad situations, moods and emotions. This story was published in the book along with 27 others.

An overwhelming 88 stories were submitted for the contest. In the end seventeen writers were chosen. Their stories are told with depth, insight, candor, irony, wit and humor. Anyone who has every visited Maine’s coast will be able to relate to them. They’ve put humankind’s instinctive emotional connection with the sea into words.

A gallery exhibit/booksigning was held at Gallery Fukurou in September 2019. The contest was held by Polar Bear and Company, of the Solon Center for Research and Publishing.

The Maine Humanities Council provided a grant for our project that enabled the Solon Center to donate books to libraries across Maine. MHC is a statewide non-profit organization that uses the humanities, “as a tool for positive change in Maine communities.”

Please ask your local bookstore to order it in for you or, if need be, purchase it HERE. All photographic art is available through Gallery Fukurou at info(at)soloncenter.org.