Monday, June 12, 2017

do not disturb

Everything seems a little hazy, a little off kilter - but in a pleasant kind of way.  The button at the parking garage won't give me a ticket or lift the bar that is blocking my way in.  I back out, drive in through the exit lane.  Nobody seems to mind.  The elevator has hand-written sign on the door: "Out of Order, replacement parts ordered".  I push the button anyway and the door opens.  Inside the elevator I push the button for the fifth floor, the elevator needing replacement parts carries me quickly to the top of the building.


From the rooftop I look west to see the sleek black hull slipping out past Hospital Point.  Above the trees on the point I can see the topsails of the huge barques coming up the river.  Soon the harbor is filled with boats.  Darting in and out between the tall ships are small boats with brightly colored sails.


I strain by eyes but even with strong optics I cannot make out the faces of the people on the small boats.  I wonder if any of them have sailed with me, or maybe I have sailed with them.


Next thing I know I am on the water.  It is cool and there is a light breeze and we drift along the line of tall ships tied to shore.  I can see the smoke from the galley on one of the ships, smelling the onions and peppers grilling as breakfast is cooked in the galley.  Across the harbor at the old Naval hospital reveille plays, a canned recording.  Aboard the ships from South American the sailors stand in formation singing their own reveilles, loud and bold.


And it is dusk and I walk the gangway onto the schooner, freshly oiled decks still hot from the sun.  I am greeted with hugs and handshakes, made to feel as if I belong there.  There is cold beer and bottles of dry white wine from Spain that reminds the Pilgrim of her hikes there.  There is a guy there that I swear is the first mate but he says he is an artisanal cheese maker and lays out his craft cheeses on platters.  The caterer - and this is strange because he looks eerily like a guy I saw working in the rigging and painting the hull a few days earlier - is an oyster farmer, and as he sears beef tenderloin on the grill an endless supply of fresh salty oysters are set out on trays.


Conversation ends as the sky lights up with fireworks that go on and on.  As the show ends there is the distant sound of bagpipes.  But it isn't distant, it is below decks and up comes guy who looks exactly like another guy I saw raising the top masts earlier in the week and he plays the pipes under a full moon.


Darkness gives way to light and I am rolling down the highway, farm fields to my left and the old canal to the right, the swamp on the far side of the canal.  Spartina slides out on the river near the old southern town and catches a breeze that come and goes.  At times the wind is perfect and the boat heels while sliding across the dark water.  Other times the wind goes away and the river is like a mirror.  The sky is surprisingly rich and blue on an almost-summer day.


I smile.  The calm is as welcome as the breeze.  I do not ask for more wind.  I have one wish and one wish only, a very simple one at that.  I hope that I continue to sleep, I want this dream to continue.

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