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.