Shipwreck Letter


Image

Searching 27,000 miles of open sea for that missing Malaysian airliner called to mind this old story. A shipwreck from another time. 

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 of this old shipwreck . . . or perhaps 200 years from today, a letter found in the ruins of the Malaysian plane. I wonder how different they would be?

 ******************************************

To my love across time,

 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.

Tags: , ,

3 Responses to “Shipwreck Letter”

  1. toritto Says:

    Nice job Roger. As always. You are always worth reading. Regards.

  2. chicagoguy12 Says:

    Thanks Frank! Good to know there is someone out there reading!!

  3. Jeremiah Horrigan Says:

    An imaginative and elegiac piece Roger. I knew your story would bring a human perspective to today’s tragedy. You’ve provided an imaginative bridge that even a victim’s family could at some distance read and take comfort in. The rest of us can enjoy its graceful writing. A comfort indeed.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: