Solitary piper, no photo

The WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge topic this time is “solitary”, and I don’t seem to have a good picture to illustrate the concept. I do have a story to share with you, though.

Years ago we went to California on vacation. Now, if you’ve never been to California, you may not know what beaches there look like. Around here, on the eastern seaboard, the land approaching the Atlantic Ocean tends to be very flat for miles inland, and when you finally reach the shore, the only change (aside from a concentration of beach houses and little seafood restaurants open only in the summer) is that there’s no more vegetation covering the sand, and you can see and hear the surf, rolling in uninterrupted all the way from Europe.

California is different. There, beaches are fairly narrow strips of sand, very clearly defined by cliffs that cut them off from the high ground inland. You have to climb down steep paths or stairs to reach the beach and the Pacific Ocean.

We had stopped somewhere between San Francisco and San Diego (which is a pretty long stretch of coast, but this was quite a while ago, and I just don’t remember what town we were near). Anyway, there was a park of sorts at the top of the cliff, and as we explored the park, we started to imagine we heard music.

Bagpipe music.

That’s a pretty unusual hallucination, so we looked around the park and down over the edge of the cliff, and soon spotted a man with a bagpipe marching back and forth on the strip of sand by the ocean piping his heart out.

Later, when we climbed down to the beach and found him still there, we got into conversation with him. He explained that he belonged to a bagpipe band which had performed for Queen Elizabeth when she visited California some time earlier. Unfortunately for him, the neighbors in the apartment complex where he lived didn’t have a proper appreciation for his music and complained about it. So he went to the beach where he could practice his piping.

And be solitary.

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7 responses to “Solitary piper, no photo

  1. What a great meeting and good for him for finding a way!

  2. 🙂 I’m smiling because when I took a ferry boat to Victoria in B.C. there was a bagpiper, kilt and all, playing by the docks. I appreciated your story.

  3. A lone piper is such a touching sound for me. I usually hear them at weddings and funerals (or other times of remembrance.) Great post!

    • Hmm, interesting point! I’m not sure anymore whether I had that kind of reaction when we first heard him – especially since we soon learned that he normally performed with a group. Glad you like the story, anyhow.

  4. Pingback: Weekly Photo Challenge : “solitary” – A photoessay « Just another wake-up call

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