One of the compensations of my room without a view is that the entrance to my building opens onto the Port de Nice.
The big shiny yachts, both sailing and motor are moored on the far side, closer to the road leading to the Point and the famous promenade. I cross the street from the steps of my entrance way to the colorful local fishing boats , an endless source of delight to me, both in their evocative names and gorgeous colors. At the far end of the quay, local fishermen are at work on the slip, preparing, repairing and repainting for the coming season. The distinctive wing-like shape of their craft, characteristic of the style Niçoise, is unchanged , perfectly in harmony with the sea.
Seagulls glide overhead and suddenly I am transported to my childhood. I am walking beside my father. His sailors gait, hands in pockets, half whistling a tune under his breath as without need for speech we absorb every nuance.The sky, perhaps cloudy or clear, the wind, perfect for sailing. The boats examined closely, if from afar. The shiny ring or hefty hawser, the bollards stone smoothed by who knows how much time, centuries perhaps? Gaining the same simple enjoyment of beauty and of being and of all life.
I was born in a fishing port like this once was and perhaps this is why I remember those walks with my father. That picturesque town remains one of the last homes to a commercial fishing fleet on the South Coast of England. These men belong to that same age, preparing their small boats as their grandfathers before them. I look up, trying not to let my sudden tears well up and fall. Sunlight glints, reflected through a seagulls wings and I feel the joy my father would have felt to be here now. Now that the years of my life have flown away and brought me, perhaps finally here, alone, yet rich with memories of the past and joys in the present.