Part 5 of “Painting Dream,” Chapter Nine of Green Music
They walked and he sang. She saw masts, knew the shipyard was just around the next corner, over the next rise.
In Marina you’ll build a boat,
In Marina wild roses bloom
In Marina you’ll build a boat
And sail for home…
“What’s the song?”
“Old song. Everyone around here sings it.”
“Where’s home, then?”
“It’s about the other home, Home Across The Sea. No one’s ever gone back, they just come. Or they used to. Still it’s our heritage. No one talks about this stuff, or do they, where you live?”
“Not actually,” Susan said. Nor did they ever discuss a kind of dreaming that fit like a glove, like she was born to it. In-between being terrified, she’d never felt so at home.
“How did people come here then?” Maybe they came as she’d just come, dreaming, and she’d never get back now, like them.
“I was born here. And my parents’ generation. But the generation before, they all drowned on Earth. Woke up here, but still remembered. At least that’s what they say. But a lot of people my age don’t believe a word of it. And some have never even heard those stories. Like you.”
She felt slightly relieved. There’d be a way back yet, unless you could drown dreaming, or painting. Sometimes it sure felt like that. Like when the turtles laughed, or the ceiling rained, or the telephone echoed, oceanically. They sat down on the edge of one of many wharves, listened to the clink of rigging.
“D’you go out?” Susan gestured at the ocean.
“Sometimes. I’m not afraid of the water exactly, but it’s not my favourite thing, either.”
He hummed the song again. “In Marina you’ll find a boat, in Marina the roses bloom…”
It was true. There were wild rose bushes hedging the yard, keeping the dunes at bay. Beach roses, they seemed a minor impossibility themselves, like southern ravens. The boats smelled of new varnish. Some were very old, sea stained, hauled out of the water to be recaulked. All the boats were made of wood; some were fishing boats and others yachts; sloops and ketches and schooners for hugging the shoreline, or sailing out to sea.
Susan looked in wonder at the clean new ribs of a half-built boat. Something wonderful about a shipyard, seeing the parts of boats usually submerged beneath the water. People, too, she saw, lived on boats they were in the midst of building, strung lines for laundry between hulls. Ladders rose to decks where wooden chairs encircled little tables and charcoal barbecues. In the corner of the ship yard an outdoor solar shower and two outhouses served as washrooms.