Monday, June 11, 2012

Day of the Tall Ships - Norfolk, Virginia

Although I often feel Hampton Roads is a Godforsaken mosquito-infested swamp there are times I am grateful I am not landlocked. Like people in Kansas or Texas. Across miles of prairie and leagues of tumbleweed, hemmed in by ironstone hills and waterless deserts with only the specter of a twister to stir the sluggish air.




The Tall Ships, Norfolk, VA (David L Macaulay)
 
I have never believed the coastline around these parts is real. My highlight on the coast was the spring day the sun shone down on the tumbled cliffs of North Devon and the waves crashed noisily on the rock stacks of Hartland Point.There could be nowhere more beautiful, although the gentle lanes of South Devon that opened up into coves and hidden beaches under the eggshell blue sky came a close second.

Here there are no cliffs; just dunes and beaches and rivers and marshes which have a charm of their own, although at times I can long for the windswept headlands now receding into antique memory.



But when the tall ships came to Norfolk I felt the call of the sea and harbored an urge to be there under the sails watching the shores of a distant and savage land hoving into view.

I could lose myself in the labyrinth of sea and tide and estuaries and be happy in the knowledge that nobody knew me and I had no ties to the land. There's a thrill in the charts and uncharts drawn up by Captain Cook as he cheerfully greeted new lands.

But he left nothing for the rest of us; nowhere unexplored, nowhere uncharted.

The tall ships at sunset made me think otherwise and to dream of raising the anchor and set sail to an undiscovered Continent.



We spend too long mired in familiarity. Our spirits are dashed by routine. We tack toward adventure but hesitate and are lost in a retreat back to a safe harbor.

For a few hours Norfolk became exotic and unpredictable. Sailors speaking Spanish sauntered along the boardwalks, exotic women laughed from the decks of yachts. And the temptation to drift away on a tide of laughter came and went.

The ebb and the flow and the dizzy heights of masts. And suddenly the tall ships had gone to grace another harbor with their dangerous dreams.



There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,

There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society, where none intrudes,
By the deep sea, and music in its roar;




10 comments:

  1. Those are lovely pics, David. You quite make me want to go out to sea as well (that, and I've recently finished re-reading Jane Austen's Persuasion AND seeing the series 5 finale for Doc Martin, which makes my heart ache to live in a coastal village). ::sighs::
    Some Dark Romantic

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    1. Jane Austen and Doc Martin - quite a combo, Mina. yes - have always lived kind of close to the sea - would go nuts in kansas, well more nuts than I am anyhow.

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  2. Beautiful pictures and words to go along with them. I especially like that last picture.

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    1. Thanx Daisy - funny thought that would be the best one as I was taking it

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  3. Those are beautiful photos! Did you shoot them? I agree with you about needing to be near the coast. I was born on Cape Cod & lived there till I was 24. Then I lived in San Francisco, and Western Washington State, and now I'm back near the Cape. Need the water!

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    1. I did indeed JoJo - there's life in the bulky old Cannon yet. You have lived in some of the best bits for sure

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  4. I can't imagine living near the sea. As a Minnesotan born and bred, there's something wild and frightening about it, as if it may lurch from its bed and sweep everything away with it...

    Pearl

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    1. Blimey Pearl -can't I imagine - but don't you have chilly lakes etc?

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  5. Beautiful pictures! I wish I was closer to the ocean.

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    1. Thanx so much Alyson - yes I guess Ohio is not so much

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