The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel ran a story in this morning’s paper about the continuing salvage of the Falcon, the Chinook 34 aground on the north side of Milwaukee. The online version has a link to a cool time lapse sequence of the boat being cut up. It would appear that Jerry Guyer waited until there was enough ice and the boat was driven close enough in to have reasonably safe access to the boat. If you look at this earlier photo from the Journal Sentinel you can see why.
Other blogs have been carrying some gorgeous photos of the Falcon as it lay wrecked. Mike Fisk, in particular, has been shooting beautiful shots at dawn. His creative viewpoint is definitely different than mine on this . Not to criticize his work at all, which I admire. To me the wreck of this boat is a tragedy. This shot of his most closely reflects my sense of tragic loss.
As I spoke of in my first post about the Falcon I see the hopes and hard work, the dreams and excitement that go into the hard effort of wresting order out of chaos. It was a dream to do something as “impossible” as slip across the water using only the wind to move you, a dream to cross an ocean, a dream to reunite with a lover. The tragedy here, luckily, isn’t due to a loss of a person’s life. The tragedy may be that with just a little more information, a few more skills, a little more understanding of the realities involved in sailing and navigation that the life of those dreams could have been fulfilled.
We all wonder at some point if our efforts are enough, if there isn’t just one or two more things we should do or know or understand. Are we making a colossal, yet easily avoidable mistake? Life must move on and we cannot obsess about every detail so we trust our experience and our skills, we listen to others and in so doing we contribute to creating a social net on which we rely. When we succeed, when we’ve breathed new life into our dreams we know we’ve done so with the unimaginable help and support of many people. When we run aground and our dreams become wrecked on a rocky ledge we are alone and left bereft.
Then, often, something amazing happens. Someone like Jerry Guyer appears. Someone who has seen wrecks before, someone who can figure a way to, if not save the dream, clean up the mess. That mess must not be left to haunt us with the melancholy reminder of loss and failure. This is part of our social compact. The dreamer who has failed is not alone after all. Without the inherent chance of failure the dreamer could not achieve the “impossible”, our dreams would not have a chance to flourish. And so we must all touch the dreamer, lend a hand in cleaning up the mess created when the chance of failure takes its toll. And we do, even if it is to simply witness a salvage with respect and empathy and to learn from that experience and to share that gained knowledge freely. In so doing we knot together that ephemeral, yet critical net which will be used to support new dreams. Dreams that may someday slip safely pass the rocky ledges too close to shore.