Sunday, March 27, 2016

Heading home...

Ponce Inlet canal into Punta Gorda's interior network of canals
Kintala and Kai Lani in Punta Gorda
Kintala is resting easy at Friends Dave and Dee Dee's dock, tucked away in Punta Gorda. Her crew is tucked away in their very nice home a couple of hundred feet away. Out back is a pond and a pool, the A/C keeps it cool and dry inside. We have known Dave and Dee Dee since our early days on Carlyle Lake, long before they moved their base of operations south. They were witness to my early attempts to dock Nomad or settle her into the weekend raft up. So it was a bit of a hoot to work our way down the canal and settle into the dock next to their Catalina. Hints of times past, up to and including me misjudging the winds and bumping Kintala's stern into Kai Lani. Oops, sorry about that.

We have settled into a wonderful visit of stories, laughter, and good conversations. One evening we went out to enjoy some free music where ad-hock blue-grass groups formed for a while at various points in the local park. They would stomp out some songs, then the musicians would wander off to form new groups. I have but a passing interest in blue-grass, and some of the groups could have used a drummer to help tie the rhythm together. Still, smiles and toe tapping where the universal response to the music. One banjo player was good enough that a few of us followed him around while he joined first one group, then another. At one point another banjo picker walked up to him and laid down the first nine notes of Dueling Banjos. His expression was a priceless one of “Are you serious?” He demurred, was provoked a few more times, sighed, tweaked a tuning peg, and LIT IT UP with the effortless ease of a true master. It was blue-grass magic, something I never suspected even existed. (Even though I grew up in the shadow of the Appalachian Mountains.)

Later, we stopped by an Irish bar for a brew. On stage was a two-man team, guitar and violin, playing music whose roots lay some 4000 miles east of were blue-grass was born. About the third song in, they started laying down alternating riffs, each with a quicker tempo than the one before. The guitar player was good, but the violin player was a certified magician in his own right. His fingers blurred as the notes flew off the strings and filled the room. I've never seen or heard anything quite like it, beauty in motion that made the heart both sing and hurt a little. And I'm only ¼ Irish.

There is so much bad news coming from land these days that some of us non-land dwellers, once in a while, catch a small case of the smug over not being much of a part of it. But the bad news isn't the whole story. In fact it isn't really the majority of the story. Its just the part of the story that makes the headlines. This visit has reminded me that there is a lot of magic on land as well. There are quiet,
good-natured people who are artists and musicians, people who can lure the magic and then share it. They can light up the night with it, or fill a room.

The anchorage off Gilchrist Park in downtown Punt Gorda

In the next day or two Kintala will set off for a last, short, jaunt to Snead Island. It will be a bitter-sweet couple of days. When we arrive we will be, for all practical purposes, land dwellers once again. There will be a time clock and schedules, things that will have to be done by such-and-such a date. It will be hot, dirty, and (at times) just a pure grunt effort to hang on until the end of the day.

There will also be new friends to meet. Old friends and family will visit once in a while. I hope to learn a bunch of new skills while using the ones I already have to the benefit of our customers. We will be in one place long enough to learn our way around. Maybe I can find some places to use what little Spanish I have, expand on it, and actually stumble into being almost conversational.

This short visit has reminded me that Bradenton really can be “home”, at least for a while. And there will be magic to find there as well.


Unknown said...

TJ and Deb,

Would like to welcome you to Bradenton. You should thoroughly enjoy your stay at Sneads Island. Have been very interested in your blog because I also have a Tartan 42 located in Cortez. I would be interested in meeting once you arrive and get settled in. Heading to Cuba on April 3rd on our boat. Will be returning from Cuba on April 13th.


Unknown said...

i can be reached via e-mail

Mike Boyd said...

Sorry we never caught back up, but glad your trip around to the gulf was mostly uneventful. Good luck with your summer job!