Grief is a horrible thing to experience, and it washes over all of us sooner or later. Things fall apart. The center does not hold.
Personally, I take great solace from the evidence all around us of rebirth and renewal. I will pass away one day, but someone or something will step in to take my place. It will grow through me or out of me or in spite of me or because of me. Nature will out. That’s why Spring is such a glorious, vitalizing time, after the death of Winter.
Recently, this photograph showed up on my cell phone wallpaper, and it really caught my imagination. I mean, here’s a ship, half sunken, abandoned, rusting and rotting away, and enough sand and soil has gathered within it’s broken hull to provide a place for trees to sprout. A ship becomes an island. That intrigues me.
I learned that this hulk started its life in 1863 as the SS City of Adelaide, a steam ship. It was built in Scotland, and had a regular route between Melbourne, Sydney, Honolulu and San Francisco. In 1890 its boilers and engines were removed and 4 masts were added.
By 1902, this vessel was only fit to be a hulk for coal storage, It caught fire in 1912, and it took days to put the fire out. In 1915, the hull was stripped, and what was left was sent off to Magnetic Island to become a breakwater on the coast, but it never quite made it. It ran aground in Cockle Bay, and has been there ever since, slowly turning into an island. During WWII, the hulk was used for bombing practice, but one of the planes accidentally hit a mast, and 4 military men were killed.
I like this story. Created by man and a slave to man’s whims, then attacked by its creators and then tragic retaliation. This thing has now become part of nature. Talk about the circle of life.
While researching this post, I came across many other vessels that are now sporting trees, including this abandoned ship outside of Anacortes, Washington, and also the SS Ayrfield in Sydney.
Mother Nature reclaims everything, if only we leave her alone to do her thing. When I die, I’d like to become compost and nurture a tree in an abandoned ship. I think that would be very satisfying.
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