Beyond Beyond; Episode 47
Using sign language, pantomime, and broken English Rich found a store and purchased groceries. He borrowed a cart and wheeled it to the dinghy and motored the supplies to the boat. He motored back and returned the cart.
As the sun sat The Odyssey settled in the calm cove. She was quiet and still.
Rich cooked a meal of fried rice mixed with fresh vegetables and spam. Not exactly an Asian cuisine delight, but different and fresh. He cleaned up after the meal. He spent the remaining sunlight on the bow sitting against the cabin and watching the shoreline. Occasional lights from the island broke through the night, but not many. “This island was much like Barbuda minus its tropical beauty and English,” Rich thought. “However, there is something very serene about this place. It is even more untouched and unspoiled than Barbuda. There is a rustic old world feel. It is as if Europe was so anxious to arrive in Brazil it skipped right past Fernando de Noronha.”
“Isn’t this what you want,” Rich thought, “a place that has been passed over, a place that is a struggle to find?”
“Every place I’ve gone are all places I’d like to live – except home.”
The next day Rich made it to shore. He rented a bicycle from a young man about his age and explored the island.
Rich found the old and neglected history more fascinating than that which had been spruced up. “There is a raw history in decay that the imagination reconstructs,” he thought. “Dressing up decayed history is like putting makeup and lipstick on an old lady.”
“Is this how ancient civilizations dealt with their history; merely allow it to crumble? Why do these people put so little effort into retaining it? Perhaps they are satisfied with who they are now. Preserving history can be a burdensome thing, fraught with inaccuracies, duplicities, and manipulations.”
Rich visited an old fort and prison near shambles. “Grim reminders of man’s inability to behave themselves or lash out in desperation or oppression.”
After two days of peddling around the island it became more discernible why this place was not teaming with people? It did not have the abundance of sandy beaches other islands had. Although some beaches had an abundance of sand this had more of the feel of Maine’s coast; rocks, some stoney beaches, and craggy cliffs.
“They all held their own beauty,” Rich thought, “but people come to the tropics for sand; pure, white, and unending.”
Rich ordered a beer at the small cafe he ate at the first day he arrived. He grabbed the beer and sat on a chair outside in the shade of the building.
He sipped and looked at the primitive existence around him. He pondered. “There is little that remains for me to see and do here, but for some strange reason I must be here. Perhaps the reason will be unknown to me forever. Perhaps I’m thinking too much of my own importance. If a tree in the forest should fall with no one to hear, it is more of a philosophical and moral discussion than physical or scientific. Does the tree that falls set a chain of events in motion that will alter lives? Two hundred years ago a tree falls in the forest. It scares a deer. A pioneer shoots the deer. He takes it home to his family. Without the deer the family would have starved to death. That family is the ancestor of a President, a deciding vote, the cure for cancer, or a mass killer. All because of a tree that fell in the forest.”
Rich had one swig of beer remaining. He tossed the beer to the back of this throat and took the empty bottle back inside and placed it on the bar.
“Mais um?” Said the woman behind the bar.
“Nao obrigado,” Rich said. “Adeus.”
“Adeus,” the woman said.
Rich made his way back to the dinghy and putted back to The Odyssey.
It was a night of little expectation yet great accomplishment in mind and soul. Each day away and each location visited provided another buffer between him and whatever occurred in Maine.
Rich brought a cup of tea on deck. He looked out over the sea to the north. There was a flicker of light; perhaps a distant freighter. “I hope I am that distant flicker.”
For a reason not known, Rich felt threatened. Without hesitation he pulled the anchor on board. The muffled sound of the engine broke the bay’s silent night. Rich gently nudged though the calm bay waters to where the sea chopped and the wind blew steady and lively.
Rich sailed north northwest for two miles and west southwest for 10 miles than set a course due south. It was a good night for sailing.