written February 18, 2006
The misty slopes of a rolling, green island slowly emerged this morning from its hiding place in the horizon. The exact name matters not, as I tell my story, other than to keep my fingers firmly attached. Punishment for “Leeking Information by Bottlyd Message” may not have been enforced since 1751, but the Navy is odd in its insistence of tradition.
The Isle seemed to stretch from the west to the east as we approached, the first rays of the morning sun drenching the sparkling sea and the growing green land mass ahead. The first sighting since leaving. A towering mountain filled the right of the entire island, the apex concealed by a singularly thick swath of cloud cover. As we neared I could not help but recall the many Greek tales I had consumed the night before, the book still residing in my back pocket. Like Odysseus nearing the land of the Cyclops or Perseus arriving at the home of the Gorgon sister Medusa, we slowly creeping along the waves toward an island that could be mistaken for any of the ancient specks dotting the Mediterranean.
The city along the shore was of classic European architecture: small, white two-or-three stories structures claimed the better part of the beach, making creepings into the higher elevations. ‘It is possible,’ I thought, ‘for a place to retain its beauty, even after the addition of man.’ Not a single Golden Arches or Bed, Bath and Beyond sign met my gaze. The tallest buildings were the few church spires scattered throughout.
Soon the ship was within the calm safety of the sea wall that extended more than a mile out and then parallel of the shore. The stone wall that we would pier to was covered with graffiti of nations’ flags and ship names,fissile remainders of the world-wide travelers who had been guests before us. Taking notice of the Royal Swedish crest of the Tri-crowns, I deciphered the name of a vessel: the HMS Carlskrona.
In the midst of the Foreign I would think we would have been more aware of ourselves, but I must report everyone was of their natural behavior.
It all seemed so close, my future,my dreams, my peace. Leaning on the railing and staring at the tiny city-scape carved into natural gorgeousness, I felt like Tantalus, the pitiable soul cursed with burned thirst and submerged to his chin in cool water, yet unable to drink.
I would one day like to return,when I can venture further than the pier to dispose of the ship’s collected trash. At least I have a few pictures. Again amid the blue expanses, the Isle is already far behind me, merely drop on my Tantalized tongue.