Forty nine years ago today the S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald sunk in Lake Superior.
I thought I’d post a picture of the Chinook 34 wreck here in Milwaukee as a small way of commemorating the wreck of the Fitzgerald. An earlier post has more about this boat.
As I walked down among the rocks along the Lake Michigan shore this morning, looking for the wreck, wondering if it had already been salvaged I heard the irregular clang, …clang of a steel halyard hitting an aluminum mast, a doleful signal, a warning of yet another losing battle with entropy. There it was, maybe a little north of where it had been the last time I saw it.
A boat like this is a combination of a wide variety of parts brought together and maintained to create a unitary whole. It is a system of fiber glass, steel, aluminum, Dacron, nylon, wood, glass rubber, brass and much more organized to handle water, fuel, electricity and wind to allow people to move across bodies of water. This boat, this system is slowly being dis-organized, it is slowly becoming unified with the universe as undifferentiated elements. The waves and rocks are entropy’s mill, grinding organization out of this being.
As a builder, a maker, as one who seeks to dance a kind of jujitsu with entropy, to put together matter and forces to create beauty and usefulness, maybe a message as well, it is painful to hear that irregular clang announcing what I know is always inevitable, and often, inevitably on some lonely shore.