The Tall Ships, Norfolk, VA (David L Macaulay)
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;