On the Beach

Written by larry on August 17th, 2012

If it’s a particularly warm and pleasant morning, and if I wake up early and in a particular mood, I’m likely to pull on a pair of swim trunks and take the 3-mile bicycle ride to Menauhant Beach. At 6:15 AM or so the place is desolated. A few hours later it will be overrun with tourists, but at 6:15 I have it to myself. The wind is dead calm, and in a few moments I’m floating on my back, enjoying the serenity, the views, and the occasional shriek of a seagull.

And then I hear it. Barely audible in the distance, at first I mistake it for the sound of some sort of mini-bike or go-kart. But then it resolves itself in my mind.

A bagpipe!

Whoever is playing is working at it – I can hear him struggling with the fingering. But his rendition of Amazing Grace is quite recognizable, and the imperfections seem to make it sound even more heartfelt and authentic than when I’ve heard it played by a pro.

For a while, I relax and enjoy the serenade, but I can’t leave this undiscovered. I swim to shore, towel off, get dressed, and start biking in the direction of the sound. The strange organization of fences around the parking lot (and the fact that a channel runs through the middle of it) delay me a bit, but eventually I thread my way to the source. The fellow is wearing a tee shirt and shorts (not a kilt), and staring out toward the water. He’s wearing ear protection.

For a while, I just lean back against my bike and enjoy the music. Eventually he pauses, notices me there, and unseats an earplug. “Hope I didn’t scare you,” he offers by way of introduction.

I tell him I’m a long-time admirer of the GHB and was enjoying his work from the other side of the beach. We chat for a while; he’s been training for slightly more than a year and just recently transitioned from the chanter to an actual set of pipes. I ask how he found an instructor and he tell me that he’s a police officer, so he had no problem. Somehow that makes complete sense to me. Apparently his wife won’t let him practice at home, so he’s here on the beach. Pearls before swine, in my opinion, and I never met the lady.

Unfortunately today is a work day for me, so I bid him farewell and begin the ride home. And I as I hear his music recede in the distance, I reflect on how I always wanted to learn, but never got started. Some research online yields a few resources, which all seem to converge on a single book. Its now on its way from Amazon. You never know.

I love this place.


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