10.29.2008

Ocean reveries

MV Shamrock, moored at New Bedford, MA -- the harbor from which the Pequod set sail.

"Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people's hats off - then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can. This is my substitute for pistol and ball." Chapter 1 ("Loomings") of Moby Dick.

It's the fag end of October, the foliage has been stripped from the trees, and nights come with gusts of wind and cold rain, this morning there is a dusting of wet snow on the ground. Melville's words are apt given the time of year, and but also fit the national mood -- a case of collective 'hypos', the ceaseless drumbeat of bad news matches the dark and sullen days. Escape to the sea, or to a remote cabin off the grid somewhere, feels attractive, and my condominium, (keeping with the nautical metaphors), feels less like a place to live, and more and more like an albatross that could drag me down into the vortex... Also, as the presidential campaign reaches its climax, the candidates (especially John McCain) become Ahab-like figures, ceaselessly wandering the country, driven by a deeply personal obsession with obtaining temporal power.

I have posted a few more New Bedford photos here.

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