On many an occasion at this time of year, my wife and I walk over to the beach with our chairs and the dogs to sit and cap the summer evening, enjoying the light ocean breeze that affords a break from the oppression of the day’s heat.
With any luck, a school of porpoise will conveniently swim by, always frolicking, but sometimes feeding, if the currents permit. Intrepid sun-tanned souls on paddle boards join them and carry on a bonding of species, if only for a moment.
The dogs busy themselves with digging in the sand for ghost crabs with nothing but their rear ends left showing above ground as we laugh at their folly. But once in a while they prance about to surprise us with their catch, as if to say “see, we told you so!”
Neighbors camp out about us, chattering about the latest happenings and retelling worn out tales, but mostly killing time while anticipating the approaching sunset. It usually obliges with a symphony of colors and streaks to confound our senses.
But for now, I take notice of a very large commercial freighter traversing the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay as it begins its voyage across the great ocean lying before it and leaving the Port of Norfolk in its massive wake. I ruminate about several things as my mind can’t help but inhabit the passageways and spaces below decks of this vessel. How many of these sailors are sadly and reluctantly leaving their home? How many are joyfully returning home? Are some of them fleeing an untenable situation in their existence? How many are searching for that elusive adventure that will become a crossroads in their lives? What is the value of their immense cargo and what of its destination?
I am compelled to reminisce to when I was once one of these sailors in this very spot, a young naval Ensign back in the mid-sixties. I plied these same waters aboard a U.S. Navy warship as we sortied forth to ostensibly keep the peace. But there was little peace to be had as the Vietnam War and its ramifications was wreaking havoc and taking lives both abroad and here at home. The middle east was its usual powder keg and one of our deployments from these passive waters I now so serenely observe, was to prowl around the waves of the eastern Mediterranean Sea “protecting our interests” while the war between Israel and several Arab countries raged.
Anyway, what of these sailors who now venture forth? What is in store for them on this voyage and in their lives? Will it be calm and placid seas or a tempest of churning waters? I’ll never know the answers, but I do know this; I will be here tomorrow evening as another great ship commences its voyage and it will fall to me to once more ponder these very same questions.
What a beautiful post Al, really just lovely. Great pics too but the one of the dog digging for ghost crabs busted me up. They just never stop entertaining us now do they!
Thanks, Tricia. Soon the dogs (and us) will be dealing with withdrawal pangs as the crabs hibernate after early fall. Pray for us.
Oh the horror! 😉
Okay, Al. That was real nice—special, even—but you need to put the thermos of mellow juice down, detox, read some bathroom humor books and shape up! 😉 All kidding aside, Al, that freaked me out. Are you thinking of joining the merchant marines? A puppy in every port?
Don’t worry, I’ll be back to my wiseassery (your phrase) before you know it! If there’s one thing this world is not ready for it’s a freaked our Lorna and a mellowed out Al!
I’ll say! And “wiseassery?” My word, you say? Impressive. 🙂 I should read my blog more often!
I’m pondering your sunset photo – is that the Chesapeake Bay Bridge–Tunnel on the horizon?
Yes, Margie. It’s the southern entrance heading over to Cape Charles and points north.
Lovely pictures and lovely ruminations. I’ve often pondered the fate of sailors, intrepid explorers and settlers throughout history who sailed out into the great, unknown seas. To me the idea is rather terrifying.
True, Peg, let me tell you about the time our ship got attacked by a 90 foot giant squid………
You were up early to write this beautiful entry. Unlike you, so, and I can’t find much humorous to say. I kept waiting for you to spot the Great White Whale. Sounds like you had one of Herman Melville’s “awe” moments instead. (Reread ‘Moby Dick’)
Funny how the same problems from all those years ago elude us today. I vividly remememeber the Six Days War and the rest. I was attuned to all things military in those days.
I am curious as to your location in these photos. I know our VA coast faces mostly east although it curves around a lot, and I see the Bay Bridge, and almost believe you are looking Northeast towards the sunrise. Stunning photos.
Actually, it’s due west, but the sun only sets on the water for about 10 weeks during the shank of the summer. The rest of the time it moves over the land part. The good news is, in the winter it sets on the water on the canal in the back of our house so we can sit on the dock and see it.
Sounds like a slice of paradise! Lucky you.
What a beautiful spot to be able to sit & ponder your thoughts. I am currently sitting in the airport in Amsterdam wondering where everyone is travelling to. Great place to people watch but I would much rather be viewing that gorgeous sunset😉
You’ll see some beauties in South Africa!
What a thoughtful and reflective post with very eloquently expressed thoughts. Really enjoyed. Sitting by the sea watching my thoughts go by is one of my favourite things 🙂
I appreciate the kind words, Peter. Especially coming from the master himself!
As always you have a magical way to transport a reader to a place yet untraveled. Very reflective and peaceful and shows your vast knowledge and use of your wonderful thoughts with words. Kudos Al 😊
Quite a compliment, Ginny. Many thanks.
Nothing witty Al, just a quick comment – I really enjoyed your blog. Sweet and nostalgic.
Thanks, Jeri. Most people can’t believe I actually have moments of quiet contemplation.
Wonderful thoughts…..I think this way often but do you ever wonder how many people go through life never thinking on any a level above the most basic “what’s for lunch”? Some times I encounter a stranger and somehow end up discussing a topic that seems to fall from the universal ether. Just love such a meeting. Thank you for your thoughts.
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Glad you enjoyed it Carolyn. I also enjoy talking with anyone who will dwell in the abstract with me.
By the way, what is for lunch?
A great post of wonderings!
Thanks for joining me in my somewhat convoluted mind.
Oh my lovely brother, I sit and watch the sunsets and the container ships coming into port around Liverpool and I have often pondered the same questions. Not that I have ever worked on board, but there is so much going on that we are unaware of. We have tug boats that go out into the Irish Sea, where one of our sea captains are hoisted aboard to sail the container ship into The Mersey navigating it’s many sandbanks and rip tides, keeping everyone safe. We have the ‘old boy’s bench’ on the promenade and we sit nattering and pondering on life and nature. one day I will get to sit with you and Patty on your beach and we can all ponder together. I loved this post and your pictures…the sunset one is beautiful. ❤ Xxx
We have similar environs to muse about the goings on of sailors. Maybe some of those I see departing are heading for Liverpool! Interesting to think about.
We’re keeping a spot of the beach open for you.