A portal does not have to be visual. Any epiphanic moment is a portal. But we are most often transported by an image that beckons, that pulls us in.

I have it on first person authority that aging increases our sensitivity to portals. Psychologist Carl Jung found that the dying often dream of the sea, or of frontiers. These are places where the pilgrim journeys from meaninglessness to eternity.

Though no doubt in violation of metaphysical bylaws, I have a portal in Newfoundland, Atlantic Canada. I don’t think we are allowed to give them a material existence, but it works for me as surely as any painting, poem, or dream. And it allows two-way traffic, transporting me when there, and calling me back after I have come home.

Richard LeBlond is a biologist living in North Carolina. Since his retirement in 2007, he has been writing about life experiences, travel to Europe and North Africa in the early 1970s, and more recent adventures in eastern Canada and the U.S. West. His essays have appeared in or been accepted by such journals as Montreal Review, Appalachia, New Plains Review, and Weber—The Contemporary West.