seaQuest: The Dawning
VOICES Monthly Presents:
The Light On The Water: Nathania Bridger talks about her new album and her strong ties to the sea.
ARTIST: Nathania Bridger
Q~ Many of the songs on the album focus on the ocean and images of water. Was this intentional or just coincidental?
A~ ::laughs:: I guess that's the Bridger side of me shining through. So many members of my family are sailors, oceanographers, scientists, each one so strong in their love for the sea that some gave their lives to it. Each of them has instilled such a respect and a love of the ocean in me. It's the only place I feel completely at home, and I guess it's just natural that it should make its way into my music.
Q~ Do you have a favorite song on this album and why?
A-~Hmm...My favorite song changes every day. But most often it is The Water Is Wide, which is known in my family as "the song that started it all". It was the first song I ever learned to sing, I mean, I was knee high and about 3 years old at the time! My Uncle Nathan and Aunt Carol taught it to me. The way I sing it has evolved over the years, but it is still the same song to me. And every time I sing it, I touch that place inside of me that is a toddler, sitting on the steps of my Uncleís house, watching my aunt sing.
Q~ Your name is so interesting! What is its origin? Its beautiful.
A~ Thank you so much! My name is actually the feminine form of Nathan, my uncle. I'm his namesake. My middle name is Kai, which in Hawaiian means Ocean, (my father was stationed at Pearl Harbor when I was born). So, I guess, when you look at the fact that Nathan is a UEO Captain and my middle name means Ocean, I'm just destined to sing about the water!
Nathan Bridger closed the magazine and smiled. His nieceís face smiled back at him from the cover. He had always known that the child was talented musically, to the point where he had insisted on paying for piano and voice lessons for many years. Now, she had released her first album of classical arias and traditional songs, and was the talk of the music community. A knock at his door disturbed his moment of piece.
"Yes? What is it?" He asked, as Jonathan Fordís face peeked around the doorframe.
"Sir, your launch is ready."
"Thank you." Nathan stood up and followed Jonathan out the door. It was Thanksgiving weekend, and the seaQuest crew was fortunate enough to have three days in port at New Cape Quest. To celebrate, Nathan was going to host a dinner for his crew at his home. Tonight, he was leaving with Tony. The others would join them tomorrow, as their shifts ended.
Bridger stepped into the docking bay and was greeted by Tonyís smiling face.
"Woo hoo, shore leave, sir. Three whole days off of this tub."
Bridger raised an eyebrow and stepped through the doors that would take him into port.
"I happen to like this "tub" as you call it."
"Oh, nothing against you creation, sir, itís just, come on. Itís a sub. Weíre surrounded by leagues of water and never get to see the sunlight. Itís enough to make a man go crazy."
Bridger rolled his eyes, refraining from making a joke at Tonyís expense. As the doors opened, the two of them were treated to the sight of a beautiful Florida sunset over the water. Bridger raised his hands to shield his eyes and just stared as the sun sank lower and lower beyond the horizon. Tony sighed.
"See, thatís what I mean. You donít get to see that when youíre 20,000 leagues beneath the sea."
Bridger stepped into the small boat the would ferry them to his island and dropped his bag and the magazine on the seat. Tony eyed the cover.
"Thatís your niece, right?"
"Yes. Sheís going to be there for Thanksgiving as well."
"When was the last time you saw her?"
"Oh, I guess itís been about a year or so. She graduated college, and then seaQuest put out to sea, so we havenít connected in awhile."
"She really an opera singer?"
Tony shook his head. He didnít understand all the fuss about opera. It was so boring and stuffy. Who could sit through those endless hours of big women screaming in foreign languages? And who would pay to do it?
After more than an hour on the boat, they finally pulled up in front of Bridgerís dock. Nathan paid the boatman and stepped onto the wooden platforms. He yawned. It was late, and he was tired. Still, home never looked so good. Especially when the lights were on and there was someone waiting for him. The front door flew open.
"Uncle Nathan!" A girl with flowing dark hair came running down the steps and threw her arms around Bridger, knocking him back a step.
"Nathania." He said, wrapping his arms around her. "Iím glad you made it."
"Like I would miss Thanksgiving dinner." She smiled and turned to Tony. "Hi."
"Nathania, this is Seaman Tony Piccolo."
"Oh, right. I recognize you from the photos." She stuck out her hand and Tony shook it. She wasnít what he was expecting at all. He had pictured a snobbish rich girl, instead of this smiling ball of energy wearing a bandana and overalls.
"Hi." He said, softly, shifting his bag on his shoulders. "Nice to meet you."
The three of them turned and started walking up the steps to the house.
"Come in. Iíve got some lasagna warm if youíre hungry."
"That sounds great. Iím starved." Tony said.
"Food sounds wonderful." Nathan agreed, dropping his bag on the floor.
After a warm dinner and shower, Tony crawled into bed. He had been allotted a downstairs guest bedroom. He tossed and turned, but couldnít get to sleep. He had this odd feeling of anticipation in his stomach, as if he were 7 and it was the night before Christmas. He couldnít understand why. It was just Thanksgiving.
When Tony awoke, he heard music playing. He could smell turkey backing in the oven, and from the delicious aroma, he could tell it had been dressed with Rosemary and spices. Ah. Thanksgiving dinner. His stomach began growling almost immediately. He rolled out of bed and slowly stepped into the sunlight living room, where Nathania sat at the piano, gently playing a flowing melody and singing under her breath. It was a sad song about the ocean, and its chords flowed like waves upon the shore.
"But the sea is wide
And I cannot swim over.
Nor have I the wings to fly.
I wish I had a handsome boatman to ferry me over,
My love and IÖ
I wish I was back home again."
She stopped when she saw him in the doorway.
"Iím sorry, did I wake you?"
"No, no." Tony assured her. "That wasÖthat was really goodÖ" he stammered, embarrassed. Nathania looked down and blushed.
"Thanks." She said. Tony walked over and sat down on a chair near the piano bench. "Uncle Nathan went to the supermarket. He forgot to pick up some things on his way in last night. He should be back soon."
"Ok. The turkey smells good."
"Thanks, I put it in earlier."
"So, you can cook?
"I get by, yes."
Tony blushed, enjoying the sound of her laugh. Try as he might, he couldnít come up with her name. He remembered that it seemed unusually long and reminded him of Nathan.
"Iím sorry, I donít remember your name. I was pretty tired when we came in."
"Itís ok. Iím Nathania. You can call me Anya, if itís easier to remember."
"Thanks. What was that you were playing a moment ago? It sounds really familiar."
"Oh, that? Itís a Celtic songÖActually, it probably sounds familiar because itís a lot like The Water Is Wide."
"Thatís it, thatís what I was remembering." Tony smiled. Absentmindedly, he reached over and began to play a jazz scale. Nathaniaís eyes widened.
"A little. Mainly jazzy stuff, I guess. Iíve never had lessons or anything like that." Tony shrugged. "Itís just something I could always do. I hear something I like, and then I teach myself to play it."
"Wow. Tony, thatís really good." Tony looked down and Anya smiled and scooted over on the bench. "Play me something."
"No, I couldnít."
"Why not? I played for you."
"But thatís your job." Tony smirked. "Iím a sailor." Anya laughed.
"Yes, and my uncle is your captain, and using my genes as proxy, I hereby order you to play something for me."
Tony laughed and reluctantly got up and sat down beside her.
"Alright." he sighed. "Since you put it that way. But Iím not singing, and you canít make me."
Tony placed his hands on the keys and began to play a swing melody that Anya immediately recognized as Elvis Presleyís Heartbreak Hotel.
"Well, since my baby left meÖIíve found a new place to dwellÖ" She sang softly. Tony stopped.
"You know Elvis?" Anya raised an eyebrow.
"The King? Of course." She sighed. "Just because I sing classical music doesnít mean thatís all I know."
"Ok, then, what else do you know?"
"More than youíd rather I know, Iím sure." She laughed. Tony laughed, but he was nervous about her comment.
"You and the captain are close then, I guess."
"Yep. He fills me in on all the juicy undersea gossip." She grinned, seeing the worried look on Tonyís face. "Donít worry about it, Tony. Iíve only heard good things about you."
"Liar." Tony teased. "Iíve only heard a little about you."
"Well, that can be remedied." Anya smiled. "What do you want to know?"
Everything, Tony felt like saying. Instead he touched the piano.
"OkÖhow long have you played?"
"Ooh, thatís an easy one. Forever. Seriously, I started taking lessons when I was 4." She smiled. " I couldnít even reach the pedals then."
"Why classical music?"
"It just, well, itís so hard. So technical, I guess. It doesnít haveÖthe soul of other music. Like Elvis."
"Oh, thatís not true. Itís complicated, yes, but once you find the rhythm, thereís so much passion in the music."
"Passion?" Tony was incredulous. "Girl, passion is like whenÖI donít know, Etta James steps up to the microphone. Not when youíre playing songs that some stuffy, rich old guy wrote before time was invented."
Nathania raised her eyebrow.
"Oh, really? Have you ever played any?"
"Then how would you know?"
Tony just grinned. He liked they way she wasnít afraid to disagree with him. So many girls were intimidated by his humor. She just threw it right back at him.
"Ok, then." He raised his hands up in defense. "Show me."
"Alright, I will."