“Chief of the Watch, on the 1MC commence a low pressure blow on all main ballast tanks.”
What a great feeling after a long run to hear those words and smell the fresh air that comes rushing through the boat. Whether it’s a week or two months, coming back to the surface is a fantastic feeling. Even if you left your world fairly screwed up before you left, coming home is one more chance to do things right. The activity around you quickens as the crew hurries to their respective duties before the maneuvering is set. Men with tool bags line up near their respective hatches to start preparing topside for the final ride into port.
You try to keep busy but you can also feel your heart beating just a bit harder. The married guys are looking forward to seeing their honey and if there are kids, it’s that worrying feeling that they have grown too much without you being there. Single guys may be thinking about a special girl or just getting away from all the closeness that has surrounded them for too long. All of them are looking forward to a meal that includes fresh milk and salad.
I still get that feeling sometimes when I cross the Alleghenies on my way back to Pittsburgh. After I get through the last tunnel, my heart does beat just a little faster. The houses and streets have changed since I was younger but it has a unique character of its own that will never completely fade away. The memories fade from black and white photographs to the vivid fall colors as you cross the road to the old park. The weather looks a littledicey this weekend, but I hope you take the time to surface from whatever it is that’s kept you underwater long enough to smell the change in the air. I hope winter isn’t in too much of a hurry this year.