06 August 2022

Quiet nights and quiet stars

 I lie here under a hazy sky squinting at the stars with a gentle westerly wafting across the cockpit.  Not too far away are the sights and sounds of the city, the whooping of kids’ hopped-up cars, the white-noise buzz of traffic on the bridge, the headlights of trucks coming down River Road from Stephens Station past the quarter-mile-long Amazon building whose lights cast eerie glows upon the water of the back channel.  Up in town the train horn moans going over the crossing.   Beside me the island is dull and dark, the occasional fish jumping at the surface.  And the zinging of crickets and cicadas is everywhere.  The bistro is long closed now, the last of the rowdy sportboats having left (at a most stirring, if overly loud, idle) till they were well round the lower point and starting up the main channel past Bristol.

 Even at a dock a sailboat is still rather isolated, insulated, from the rest the world. No-one comes down here.  Despite all they noises of the night, which I rather enjoy, actually, they belong to another world, the world of people who do not relax and never take the time to just look up at a night sky.  And I rather pity them, if only because I know what they are about; because at some times in my life I have been one of them. 

 I left my job tonight, in anticipation of leaving within a few days for Annapolis, a route and destination I know well but have never taken, together, on my own.  This whole great adventure promises wonderful opportunities for lying in the cockpit till well past midnight but also the inevitability of feeling isolated and cut off from much of the rest of the world.  Just how much I will want to remain connected to the rest of the world remains to be seen.  I expect I will feel lonely at times; but I expect, and certainly intend, to revel in the peace of nights like this.

 The reflection of the municipal facility’s security lamps upon the water casts weird undulating glows upon the underside of the solar panel above my feet.  It’s like a miniature, much closer version of the Northern Lights.  I could stare at that effect for hours and think about how I could never have planned for such a source of amazement.  Such little unexpected mysteries are the magic of this crazy scheme.  And I look forward to all the rest of it with a mixture of anxiety, amusement and amazement. 

Corcovado (aka ‘Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars’)

Antonio Carlos Jobim; lyrics by Gene Lees

Quiet nights and quiet stars;
Quiet chords from my guitar;
Floating on the silence that surrounds us;

Quiet thoughts and quiet dreams;

Quiet walks by quiet streams;

Climbing hills where lovers go

To watch the world below together.

We will live eternally

In this mood of reverie,

Away from all the earthly cares around us;

My world was dull each minute

Until I found you in it;

And all at once the happiness I knew

Became these quiet nights of loving you.


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