by Pandabonium and K
We went out today to find the wreck of the Giant Step (see previous post) and found her just south of Kashima Port, and north of the wind turbines of Kamisu City in what was formerly Hasaki Machi.
The surf was big and pounding against the concrete barriers along the road with enough force to cause one to doubt the safety of the cars parked there (such as ours). Occassionally the waves would strike with such power as to send spray over the barriers and onto the highway as if to emphasize the power of the seas over man's feable efforts to tame it. Note to self: wash the car tomorrow.
From a sand dune above the highway the wreck of the Giant Step was an obvious gaping sore. The iron ore cargo stained the waters in the area of the wreck a rust red. An unused bright orange lifeboat hung at its davits on the stern section. What was once a proud, useful machine lay broken in two before us like a toy spurned by a spoiled child - a glaring reminder of the power of nature and the fragility of human endeavor in her grip.
When viewed in a newspaper or on TV or the internet such a picture is just an abstract object and event and one can easily maintain an emotional detachment. But in person, the very sight of it takes on visceral meaning and one thinks of the dread of those aboard as the ship came aground and was torn apart in violent, agonizing death throws on the reef. One can but imagine the the jarring motions, the horrendous sound of steel being ripped apart as the wind, rain, and ocean lashed at every inch, and the knowledge of the end of the ship, perhaps of one's own life. It becomes real.
We followed the road to where it ended near the wreck. People were climbing the dunes to take a look, to take pictures. Most stood in silence. Many were taking pictures or looking through binoculars as were we.
I wondered what drew us all here, if their thoughts were as mine. Is it just a ghoulish curiousity? Or do we humans instictively seek a kind of reality check, to see first hand that what we suspect about our technological superiorty is true? That in reality, our supposed superiority over nature and our certainty of it, hangs by a mere thread, and that we need to take heed. We need to be reminded now and then of how tenuous that thread really is. In short, we need at times to be humbled.
"The sea - this truth must be confessed - has no generosity. No display of manly qualities - courage, hardihood, endurance, faithfulness - has ever been known to touch its irresponsible consciousness of power." - Joseph Conrad