Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Peril at sea.

Hopelessly lost. Or not?
Throughout the world, in worlds far from our own, there are empty or nearly empty islands or capes or peninsulas that have been aptly named by the sailors and explorers who had landed upon them, safely or otherwise.

Sable Island, a long, thin strip of nothing near the Grand Banks is also called The Island of Tragedies. It's said more than 350 ships met their doom on the rocks and sandbars that gird the strip of desolate land.

A world away three-miles west of Elephant Island lies an isolated reef called Horror Rock. It doesn't take a surfeit of imagination to wonder about the travails and terrors that prevailed there. I imagine rocky land strewn with the bones of Davy Jones.

Tierra del Fuego is home to Fury Island.

Australia is home to Cape Catastrophe.

Darwin wrote about some of these seas as he sailed on the Beagle a century and three-quarters ago. "One sight is enough to makes a landsman dream for a week about shipwrecks, peril and death."

These are not merry places.

And while I've never visited their like, I have navigated the waters of New York and Madison Avenue. I've seen people washed up, beat down and smashed against the rocks of life. I've seen the best minds of my generation folded, spindled and mutilated.

Most people at one time or another founder on their own personal Cape Catastrophe or Island of Tragedies or Horror Rock.

And most are able to do as Shackleton's captain Worsley did. They sail to safety through dangerous seas and hike to others for help amid the storm.

That's the lesson in all this, really.

As Yogi Berra might have said, "when you come to the end of the road, keep going."

No comments: