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the ships from france

September 2, 2011

There used to be a ship coming up the river almost every day, I think. As I may have mentioned, when we were kids, my mother used to put us in the station wagon with sandwiches, and we’d drive downtown and wait for one to go by.

More Antioch fun!

I think when they’re coming up this side, they’re going to Stockton. They’re not very romantic vessels, to say the least, and they have the names to prove it. The most romantically-named ship around here is probably the Marine Chemist, unless you’re looking at historical reproductions.

Still, where have they come from? Somewhere far away. In Willa Cather’s Shadows On The Rock, one of my favorite books, the colonists clinging to the rocky outcrop of Quebec, on the edge of the dark Canadian forest, spend the whole year waiting for the ships from France, their only contact with the greater world. Their arrival is the most anticipated event of the year: they’ve been sighted at sea, they’re becalmed in the river, they’re tied up, loaded with news and exotic goods.

When civilization begins to collapse, will the ships still come across the Pacific? I wonder.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. September 2, 2011 9:23 PM

    No, because no one will remember how to build or sail a non-powered ship big enough to cross the ocean. Sadly.

    • E. A. Peregrine permalink
      September 2, 2011 10:53 PM

      Oh, except for these guys!

      I was wishing so hard they would come up here, but we’re too far inland for them.

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