Monday, July 19, 2010

The best laid schemes o' mice an' men...

It's been said a billion times that a picture is worth a thousand words.  This one sure is haunting enough.  From flickr user Dan Maudsley's collection comes this 2005 photo of the liner SS American Star (formerly SS America, among others), run aground off the Canary Islands:

(click for the larger version, of course)

For more info, check out the ship's Wikipedia article.  

The first thing I thought when I saw the photo (without knowing the ship's history), is how fragile our creations really are.  Yeah, yeah, yeah...a bit overboard (pardon the pun) on the philosophy, but really: stop and think about it for a minute.  This ship took the work of hundreds of people and actually survived in service from 1940 to 1994, when she was wrecked.  Like any ocean liner, she was built to last and survive quite a pounding.  That said, it only took two days of pounding from the sea to break the stranded ship (by then nothing more than a floating hotel, with no power or navigational abilities of its own) in half.  Two days?  A ship that'd survived 54 years' service--several of them during WWII as a troop transport--split in half by the waves of the mid Atlantic.  The bow section soldiered on for 13 more years, finally succumbing to the ocean in 2007.

All of that work, time, and history gone--just like that.  Kind of puts things in perspective, doesn't it?

For more pics, check out the page of one of the ship's former patrons:

1 comment:

GG said...

Bryan, thanks for your thoughts, full of irony and wonder. Just lying in bed on a Saturday morning, grandchildren around us, I was Googling Maudsley ( a manufacturer making truck axles in the UK ... maybe not anymore ... ) and your blog came straight up because you reference the photographer of the ex SS America. Love the randomness, and thanks again for your thoughts. Whoops, breakfast's arrived ...

Gerard (7.39am 19 November 2011)