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.
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.