May 21 0300, Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, St. Michaels, MD.
There is something about a lighthouse that brings the mind to muse on directions, dangers, and the eternal search for havens of rest. I am lounging on the upper balcony of the Hooper’s Island screwpile lighthouse as I write. Below me is the grounds of the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, today’s haven of rest. stretching before me is the harbor where Dragonsong lies twitching fitfully at her mooring. This tiny craft with her broad bottom and snug cabin has brought me here to relax in the land of sailor’s lore.
This vacation was hard won in my current rat race. I need to stand back and take more than a few irons out of the fire. Winding down should be easier than this. Why isn’t it? So much has happened since last I ventured on the water for more than a day. I can’t seem to let go and stop running it all through my head like an old moving picture animation machine. The flickering images give me a headache.
All this nautical charm and vacation-land ambiance has an unreal quality. Maybe people here don’t have to study or drive long repetitious miles. Maybe they don’t worry about aging parents or long lists of waiting tasks or small, possibly, cancerous monsters growing on their skin.
I think I am developing a love-hate relationship with vacations. Is it me or is it sailing? Would this be a problem if I spent a week on a dude ranch in Montana or skiing. Perhaps I would get more out of oohing and ahhing at the latest plastic amazement amusement at Epcot Center. When I was in the third grade my family went to Disneyland. It was like living in a well ordered cartoon village where the lines always kept moving as efficiently as the cash flow. That was the late 1950’s. “Tomorrowland” didn’t look anything like today except now I’m a grownup and have the responsibility and unalloyed joy of keeping the lines moving in my own little corner of today. Time for a poem, then I am going to take a nap in the sun.
I stand by the lighthouse rail
Looking out to see myself
Searching for my vessel’s lights
Skirting the rocks and shoals
Edged around by mariners souls
Lost on moonless nights.
These lighthouses marking the dangers
That litter the edge of the land
Are built by God, not mere men,
To see so clearly where I stand.
This beacon stretches forth to comfort me
And place my vessel in fortune’s hand
So this sailor might find home again
Though his heart be left upon the sea.
May 21 2030 hours, at anchor, Leeds Creek
I napped too long on top of the lighthouse. Justine’s closes at 5:00 at this time of year. Am I the only one on Summer schedule already? I probably needed a nap more than a milkshake anyway. Supper made up for it somewhat. The shrimp at the carpenter Street Tavern were excellent. After eating I rowed the Doughnut of the Damned back out to Dragonsong. I passed some swans along the way. They look pretty damn big from water level. the biggest one looked like he had a craving for PVC but didn’t have the nerve to act on the impulse.
With the sun close to the horizon I used the last chance at daylight to to motor across the Miles River to Leed’s Creek. it’s a very picturesque place to drop the hook for the night. As I approached a suitable anchoring spot I killed the engine to be met by a natural silence, very deep and not penetrated by planes, trains or automobiles. Just about the time I was finished being awed by the uncommonly silent silence the air began to echo with piercing bird calls. I am not certain but I think it may be a swan. Maybe herons? I don’t know something sizable and probably hungry, or in love. Whatever, it’s a great show and beats hell out of so-called nature programs on cable TV.
So ends this day.