Saturday, October 16, 2010
A stranger on the beach - Jamestown
I took this picture on a weekday of breezy fall skies and flitting sunshine with the trees starting to turn color along the Colonial Parkway.
I first came here on a gorgeous but freezing day in November five years ago to do an interview at Jamestown. The road was empty and the James River glistened and danced. It seemed like the pristine wilderness that the first English settlers found in 1607.
Admittedly there was no glistening highway to sweep them to Jamestown Island then, no yellow brick road to an uncertain future. Just savage thickets, unfriendly locals, mosquitos and the promise of a long lingering death by starvation for many.
They were strangers in a strange land and the brooding silences of the New World must have been an intimidating contrast from the overpopulated squalor of the old one.
When I was last here a family of buzzards stared at me glassy eyed from a tree. But this week there were a few people on the beach by the same tree. I wondered about the man reading in perfect harmony with his surroundings. Where was he from and what tales did he have to tell?
Was he also a stranger in a strange land like the settlers? There can be fewer things closer to perfection than being on a beach where nobody knows you, on sand where you have left no footfalls. My mind returns to the shores of the Aegean, to the long and lazy days mapped out by the sighing tide and the occasional trip to a taverna, to being young again and not having a care in the world.
There's a perfect symmetry to the lazy curve of sand into the water and to being a stanger on a beach far, far away.