Just the sea and me

My wine tasting assignment was at the air base on Saturday. It was considerably better than the marine base the week before, at least after I had managed to get through the check point.

I confess these places make me nervous. Woman in khaki with large gun asks for my driving license; I tug on my over sized wallet spilling business cards from the last 20 years all over the car and try to retain the last shred of dignity as a I coolly mutter: "Here goes," as I hand her my ATM card.

One time at Fort Monroe I handed the grumpy security card an out of date registration document.

"Last year's," he snarled at me, throwing it back through the car window.

I proceeded to very slowly and meticulously root through a bundle of papers. "Ah my school attendance record from 1982."

"Nope. Not that one. Nope," I said, Very slowly. A large convoy of vehicles was backing up behind me.

I eyed Mr. Grumpy Pants and told him I'd have to search the trunk. Maybe it was beneath the remnants of last year's camping expedition.

"Did you want to know about the hike to the waterfall?'

"OK. Just go though. But remember it next time," he capitulated.

I think I got off topic. The air base is better than the marine base because hardly anyone visits the marine base store. And those who do walk right past the wine section to pick up hard liquor.

After three hours of standing in an aisle reading the labels of other manufacturers' wines you start muttering to yourself. That and stalking the aisles to rugby tackle passers by, drag them to the table and force them to sample wine. This is not a good idea in a venue where shoppers have grown muscles on their muscles.

Nothing much happens at the marine store. Except a couple of weeks ago when someone tried to buy a gun that went off and injured a passer-by.

There were other samplers at the air base including a woman of advanced years who in the words of Leonard Cohen was "100 but she was wearing something tight."

Mavis was offering Southern Comfort, in particular to Brian, a guy of advanced years who strutted in wearing leathers.

"You want to go on the bike today?" he drawled pointing to the Harley he had strategically parked so as it was visible through the doors.

Marvis went on about hot flushes associated with the menopause. Brian got closer and closer to her sampling table radiating phony sympathy. You could almost hear his leather trousers throbbing like the engine of his Harley.

If he got any closer he might as well have lay on her sampling table like a submissive giant gray haired leather fly seeking Southern Comfort.

Mavis detailed a few more health problems from her shopping list. Brian finally strutted off like John Wayne. What is it with guys who ride Harleys? And why are they always so old?

At least I sold a lot of wine and spent three hours talking to human beings instead of labels.

By the time I left th store spring was in the air and I headed for the beach.

Sometimes you have to get away. Sometimes you have to get to the sea. Finally the air was warm with the scents of spring. Out at the nature reserve the reeds swayed gently in the wind and people with dogs meandered back from the beach.

But there's something refreshing about being alone on the beach. Maybe this is our natural state, as lonely figures on the beach watching the ebb and flow of a gentle tide.

From the earliest days man has looked at the sea and yearned for far off shores.

Some foam crackled around my feet and a gentle tide sloughed in. It was strange to think the same sea had been scouring out the land and dragging so many people to their deaths thousands of miles away.


  1. Love the pictures, great idea to take a little time for yourself. It is crazy to think what's going on in Japan right now.

  2. I did not know you sold wine.

    And I loved these pictures. Seems so peaceful.

  3. Last paragraph, very profound. Makes Mavis' hot flashes seem so irrelevant.

  4. I don't think I'd like holding wine tastings for a job much. You made me laugh talking about the Harley rider, though.

    Now sitting by the sea and watching the tide rolling in and out is something I love, though I've only had the opportunity to do that a few times in my life.

    Knowing that those gentle waves can turn into giant monsters called tsunamis is a sharp reminder of the power of Mother Nature and why we should remain in awe of her. So much sadness and tragedy in Japan. I can't even begin to imagine it all.

  5. Very nicely written and powerful, David. I especially like that last photo. It's very serene.

  6. Great piece of writing David; poignant, sombre, witty.
    Lovely photos too.
    Could you describe the top photo please when you get time. It looks like tree stumps.

  7. Loved this post, both the writing and the photos. I love the sea and wine too (as you now know in terms of the later from my blog) but I don't get to go to the beach as much as I would like. Very strong ending to your post too.

  8. These photos are beautiful. :)

    Oh gosh that motorcyclist sounds like quite the gent. Ha! I'm sure you run into some of the most bizarre people while doing the wine tasting. Sheesh. You could write a book about it! :P

    The last paragraph was touching.

  9. thanks Tim. Japan doesn't seem for real. Cheers Oilfield - only part time, as I get to glug the stuff I don't sample. Thanks Lidia, but Marvis hot flushes are where it's at. I know Daisy, thanks. But wine tasting can be fun. Thanks Robyn, evening was a nice time to be out there. thanks Sue, I think they are just eroded tree stumps. Cheers Frog - it's not a bad combo. For sure Jennifer, inclding hairy faced, erratic spider obsessed lady. Thanks for your comments.

  10. :)) Guys with Harleys are old because a) Harleys are friggin' expensive and more old guys than young guys have money and b) they are still entertaining the notion that because chicks dig bikes, owning one ups their chances.

    Nature can be very calming and restorative, but it also has a bad habit of reminding us what fragile creatures we are.


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