By Naomi Shihab Nye
It wasn't that they were so
they were more
I could rub them
the way you touch a cat
that rubs against your ankles
even if he isn't yours.
So yes I feel lonely without them.
Now that I know the truth,
that I only dreamed someone liked me,
the cat has curled up in a bed of leaves
against the house and I still have to do
everything I had to do before
without a secret hum
To my great regret, we left Virginia Beach on Thursday morning, though we had a very nice day...it just would have been nicer if it ended with more beach. We spent the summer solstice celebrating America's 400th birthday at Historic Jamestowne, site of the original city that's now a national park, and the Jamestown Settlement recreation. Both are terrific and a person could spend an entire day at either one. We went to the excavation sites first at Old Towne, where new walls have been put up around the perimeter discovered under the soil and the living areas are still being explored. The park has a terrific film-in-the-round and indoor exhibit with some of the findings from the site, too. Plus it's right on the river, with statues of Captain Smith and Pocahontas overlooking the rebuilt church and the water respectively, which makes it a gorgeous place to have lunch.
After a brief stop at the Jamestown Glasshouse, a recreation glassworks a few yards from the original first English industrial venture in the New World which has been partially excavated, we went to the settlement living history museum, which is run by the Commonwealth of Virginia and is not inexpensive but is well worth it. There are recreations of the fort, nearby Powhatan village and riverfront where replicas of the Susan Constant, Discovery and Godspeed can all be boarded. Guides dressed as original settlers and Native Americans talk about everything from how corn and tobacco were harvested to how weapons were made. Inside the museum buildings are dozens of artifacts from the settlement itself and from England and Africa before people arrived in the New World. Lots of the exhibits are hands-on for kids, from the ships' tillers to celestial navigation to putting together a Virginia assembly. There were chickens in the fort and turtles and frogs in the nearby wetlands.
The ships are first visible across the water when driving from the national park and original fort site to the recreation.
Here's the Godspeed from just outside the captain's quarters on the Susan Constant.
There were actually two Godspeeds there: the newer ambassador ship that we saw in Baltimore and Alexandria, and the older reproduction that's a bit smaller.
Here is the other Godspeed, also from the captain's quarters on the Susan Constant!
We have seen another Discovery as well, in London at the Docklands Museum. Needless to say, that one wasn't here and I am astonished any group ever crossed the Atlantic in a ship that size!
There were living history interpreters to talk about the sailing, rigging, navigation and life at sea.
We had a mostly easy drive with great views of the naval ships near Norfolk and herons in the rivers, at least until we hit post-rush hour traffic coming around near Tysons Corner and the local Beltway was horrible! But we made it and now I have about ninety laundries to do. Fortunately I have salt water taffy to console myself!