Just walking out the door into the garden, from a silent house, this morning early, was such a pleasure, I thought of Amsterdam and all her workings, realizing that it was just the right time to get off and be on land again. You are never in silence on a great ship, although there are places where the hum of the engines and the air-conditioning are less than in others.
We’ve had very little sense of the ground moving under us as you do when you’re just off a small boat. There was a storm that last night, the first we’d had in all our seven weeks. But we were snug in bed and didn’t get thrown around. And the wind was still blowing almost a gale as we disembarked into the sunshine of San Diego, to be picked up by our friends Everett Peirce and Susan Welsch. They had braved the traffic on the pier between taxis and shuttles to find us. “Keep moving! Just keep moving!” they were told. “But how are we supposed to find them then?” But they did find us, one of those times you thank goodness for cell phones.
It was into their garden in La Jolla that I walked this morning, before anyone else was up. It’s inevitable that scenes from the ship pervade our thoughts, and that’s both pleasant and healthy. Vivid pictures of individuals, people in writing group, the library, at meals, at talks in the Queen’s Lounge, all are part of us now. Scenes from all the islands, mountains and reefs, faces of people in the street. The shifting colors of the water under cloud and sun, over deep or shallow water.
Things we won’t miss are there too, like the blasting whistle and penetrating voice of the announcements about crew Emergency drills. They seemed always to interrupt crucial conversations in writing group. Just when you’d settle down somewhere to read, a few people nearby would start a conversation you didn’t want to hear but couldn’t avoid without moving…and Gene, the Cruise director, announcing Tender departures, “Groups Blue 2, Blue 3 and Blue 4, please go to….” Merely being able to be on wifi without difficulty and without paying for it remind us of being glad to be on our own again.
What a time it has been! And having it come toward the end of our lives somehow makes it doubly special.