Musings, Small Yet Bright, Like the Stars Above

 

“Holding Steady”
May 23, 2006  Tuesday

In the middle of the Atlantic.  I once wondered what it would be like to surrounded by water only, and here I am.  I am beginning to read the many books I found in Portsmouth, beginning with O Pioneers! by Willa Cather.  Spirits holding steady.

“To New Things”
May 23, 2006 Tuesday

I am writing this in sonar during my very first divisional watch since the Elrod was returning from Maine in August.  I could get used to this.  I am not sure if I will always have the same watch times every day, but for tonight it spans 1730-0200.  I was sure to pour myself a big cup of coffee before coming up here.  If I were to make quick, initial comment (which I will) I like the quiet of Operations.

Sipping coffee I skimmed over all of the still-exotic places we might soon be.  Sometimes, at my most optimistic, I hope to view this as an adventure (as I am told to view it) but often the silliness of the full day drives these dreams to the corners of my mind.  After taking some time with the atlas I dug into the sonar cabinet and began from the very beginning.  I will teach myself sonar, as I sit here, several hours a day, until I have caught back up to where I should be as a second-class (though I know, as Jeffery Gordon has correctly emailed me, it would be unwise for my near future to be looked on as an asset or too hard-working)

Perhaps a prayer then, for what I have long been working towards, my early educational release fluttering in the wind.  I know that in a while this watch will grow old and stale, out of simple monotony, but I will always be as optimistic as I can be.

“A Year Ago”
May 23, 2006  Tuesday

A brief story from the May 23rd of 2005, as I am biding time still on watch.  I happened to have duty the very day there was to a big get-together for the American, French, and English navies in Norfolk aboard the Harry S. Truman.  Our tiny ship, having been invited as well, had a few attend the dress-whites dinner.  The food was delicious, and I had to take Jeffery Gordon’s word for it on the wine, on account of being on duty and all.  A few Elroders had too much, and of course ended up talking long and loud to the Admiral of the Second French Fleet, who turned out to be very accommodating and played a willing conversationalist to us rowdy Americans (as I marveled how much he resembled President Bush.) After a few hours the hanger of the Truman began to thin of jolly Brits and  frumpy French, and I gave a ride to our ship to Jeffery Gordon, and besides getting wine on whites, and stepping on the toes of a few female English sailors, little international harm was ultimately done.

“Land!”
May 26, 2006  Friday

Land! Actual land!  The sloping hills of western Spain, more precisely.  As we are in three-section duty (having duty every three days) I have duty today.  My watch tonight was standing at the gate leading to the very long pier, and to check IDs.  That’s all.  A few Elrod sailors came out the pier to smoke, but it made me nervous that they smoked right next to a gas line.

This is a working port, meaning that every night we will get time off by four or five, and have to be back by midnight.  In fact, there will never be a time when I will not be in the ship after midnight.  This alone makes me feel half crazy.

“One Day in Rota”
May 28, 2006  Sunday

My one day in Rota.  We talked through the town and took a taxi to Santa Maria for the San Lucas festival, but not much to tell other than that.  By the time we are let off the ship everything is closed, and by the time it opens we have to get back.  If this keeps up this whole “See the World” thing has been a trick.  See the world as you stand watch from your ship, more like it.

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