Sunday, December 5, 2010

Winter's quiet night...

There's something I love about the marina at night in the wintertime. There's no one around -- no one I can see anyway. If anyone is here, they're hiding inside their boats, snug against the early winter breeze that takes your breath away. It's still and silent save the usual evening sounds.

There's the bell-like ringing of lines. The rhythmic thumping of halyards and the hollow echo of masts. The gurgle of water slapping the sides of the boats, the groan of compressed fenders and the ever-so quiet noise of lines stretching against their cleats. The quiet humming of rigging in the wind is louder than the traffic of the city half a mile away.

Then there's the noise of a working port. The occasional whistle of a tug or blast of a ship's horn as she prepares to leave port. That's the comforting promise that everything is running as it should, ticking away reliably in the background, bringing salt for the snowstorms, bananas and cars and potash and a million other things.

Of course there's also the long, almost harmonious, purr of rail cars blowing horns as they carry goods away from Baltimore. It is quiet and it's nice.

There's something quiet and comforting about the marina at night -- but it's most comforting from the warm, comfortable inside of a boat that has weathered more winters in her life than I...

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