Friday, March 22, 2013

Friday Jukebox: Northwest Passage Edition

When I was young I worked out on the Georges Bank, one long, cold winter ago.

The rig I worked on, the Alaskan Star, was one of the biggest of the North Slope semisubmersibles. The crew quarters were well-heated, the rig was huge and stood sturdy amid the stormy seas of the North Atlantic.

But it was the North Atlantic, and when the sound of the wind would rise to a shrill scream among the derrick cables and the great green-black sea-hills bear down from the northeast, where the sea and sky would meet in a clanging ferocity of gray, it was nearly impossible not to feel a tiny shiver of fear.

One late night I stood on the open catwalk outside my little steel logging "trailer" with my head lowered against the sleeting rain and saw around me nothing but this remorseless wilderness of ocean. Behind me this song played on the battered tape machine, and suddenly I felt infinitely small and lost and frightened by the sheer immensity and power of the sea around me, and understood, for just that moment, for just that particular space and time, how vastly indifferent the world is and how precariously fragile our human lives may be.


basilbeast said...

His life seems to reflect your sentiment.

Another musician felled before his time in a plane incident.

Your piece here brought to mind the scene in Master and Commander rounding The Horn.

You couldn't pay me enough to do this


Ael said...

Yes, Stan Rogers was a national treasure. I recall feeling stricken when I heard he had died.

Speaking of stricken and the northwest passage, have you been following the arctic sea ice? It looks like we in for a helluva ride this summer.

BigFred said...

Chief, just when i think that our political biases should preclude me from visiting here, you post this. I am a HUGE Stan Rogers fan.

Lisa said...

I love your expression of our miniscule selves against infinitude -- that "remorseless wilderness of ocean".