JUNE 21, 2012 10:38PM

As The Ship Goes Down

Rate: 15 Flag

 "Everything dies, baby that's a fact.

But maybe everything that dies come back " 

Bruce Springsteen 

On Wednesday July 14,2010, workers in Manhattan excavating the site for a future World Trade Center came upon the remnants of a ship. It was estimated that the ship had lain undisturbed for over 200 years. IF there had been a letter found in the ruins . . maybe it could have read. . .


My one and only love,

It is snowing at the foot of the island. Grey skies. A winter wind of moderation. And the ship is going down, our eyes will soon feel the icy waves, so there is not a lot of time, maybe just a second or two, and I wanted these last words to be with you.


Let it always be known what happened here. We were coming home to our land of snow. Not because the mouth of the river they called Mississippi wasn’t bountiful. The fish swam in swamp land waving grass under star light currents of plenty and all the music had a jump and merry melody. We really could have stayed.


But the land of snow called us home. We had winter in our bones. Acadian driftwood. Gypsy tailwinds. So we set the compass north again.


And just in sight of the tip of the island is when the fire started on the ship.


Someday they will find the mighty ship. They will puzzle at the semicircular metal collar several feet across, built into the hull. They will surmise correctly that it was an oven. All that will be missing is the smell of warm bread baking in the snow when the fire started up.


And the scripture lines I said out loud as I realized that the fire would be stronger than the ship, at just that golden moment when we passed the tip of the island and I somehow saw giant towers from the future falling, hit by strange flying machines high in the air, a vision of fires blazing strong now just like the one by the oven in our ship.


I said the lines out loud. I prayed the lines from Kings, but as I prayed I also just spoke like an everyday, ordinary conversation to you. As if we were home. In our own warm kitchen. And it was almost time for dinner, “but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of sheer silence.”


The ship started to roll slowly, tip to the left, and began to sink beneath the waves. And I prayed again, the lines from the book of John,


“The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes.”


A long time from now, my one and only love, when the children of children, carrying this deeply buried memory of you and I, are running, playing dancing joyfully in the snow, in a time that will come even after the towers in the sky had fallen and in that naked dawn when only a few survived, in that time so far from now, they will finally find our ship.


They will measure it off. Our 30-foot length of a wood hulled vessel. They will puzzle as to why we had an oven. Never having smelled our home made bread. And they will find our ship near where those towers had fallen from the sky. They will find our ship in the wet melting simmering heat of July. A heat like the one that drove us back home from New Orleans.


And when they find that ship in the middle of some hot July.


Somewhere, we will be feeling that gypsy tail wind, running with our little family, children laughing, tramping through the snow, looking up and catching frosty white flakes in our eyes like shimmering winter diamonds. The splendor of the winter. And the comforting chilly white winds of home.


Your tags:


Enter the amount, and click "Tip" to submit!
Recipient's email address:
Personal message (optional):

Your email address:


Type your comment below:
Got 2 PM's from 2 of my all time favorites who said---Open the Comments!. Only had um closed cause I didn't think anyone could get through the spam. So if anybody is interested---comment away!

If not---onward and best to ALL OS's. The site might go---but we are all OSers!
What really struck me about this was the imagery -- so vivid I was transported back 200 years to a world utterly foreign. That, plus the empathy you displayed in assuming the person of an early 19th century mariner -- with 21st century sensibilities, perhaps, but maybe those sensibilities are universal, even if the language used to express them isn't. This was really a beautiful piece of writing.
Yay! You opened comments for this one! Thanks, CG!

I loved it, was so disappointed I couldn't comment.
As Procopius says, it 's a bit like time traveling. But very melancholy in its tone. I enjoyed its content very much.
already Rated
As I said in my PM, you can't close comments after a post like this. I was about to award you my highest honor -- a TLC for exceptional literary merit. Now that you've opened the comments, consider yourself awarded, and I expect you to proudly display your Tommy on your mantle.
This was just wonderful. Moving, descriptive work. It did capture the time vividly. Great work!
Steve---I was really intrigued by this story. The hull of a ship found while excavating the future World Trade Center? Premises don't come any better than that!

PW--Only closed the comments cause it seemed like the site was done, but as it seems now we got a little time---why not! It felt like time traveling writing this.

The TLC!!!!!! Yay!!!!!! If this turns out to be goodbye to OS---I could not imagine a better last word than that!
onislandtime===Thanks! Sometimes imagining other times helps me with the now!
Just as good this time around...I can smell the bread baking!!!
That was awesome. I love the prose in the fictional 'what if' letter, and it is the very reason this site should never die.
It appears that their ship finally came in to the perfect port and the resting place where everything that dies someday comes back. Have you ever heard The Band's cover version of "Atlantic City" from 1993? It is a good one with Levon Helm on lead vocals. By the way, the only group that Jake Blues hated more than Illinois Nazis were the Nazis from Wisconsin; Elwood Blues would have also driven them off the bridge to clear up the traffic in order for the Blues Brothers to drive to Maxwell Street and hear John Lee Hooker sing "Boom Boom."
Paul Haider, Chicago
Paul Haider, Chicago