Saturday, May 7, 2016

May 7, 2016 - Ghost Ports

The posts you see at low tide are just ghosts now.  There aren’t many left, and those that are left are shredded and worn-away pieces of ghost wood.  These ethereal posts dot the shores of Maine everywhere.  They can only be seen at low tide.  At high tide, they disappear and all is right with the world again.

But low tide always comes around again to show the ghosts.  These posts are all that is left of old docks and platforms along the ocean.  There are only a few in this photo, but in some areas, there are dozens of oddly-shaped pieces of jagged wood sticking up from the sometimes ocean floor.

Ghosts on the shore.
They look exactly like tombstones and, in fact, they serve the same purpose.  Like tombstones, they wear away and become old and crooked with time.  The wooden posts will disappear before the tombstones, but in the end, they both go to the same place.  Here lies Elijah Cook, gone to ground in 1797.  Here lies all that is left of a once-thriving port, gone to ground in 1879.

The old ports were such important places.  They were filled with people and traffic, albeit horses and carriages.  Men rushed back and forth along the docks, loading and unloading ships.  Valuable exports were sent on their way; essential imports were gladly taken ashore.  Business thrived!  People lived and died, directly and indirectly, due to the hub-bub at these ghost ports.

Now they’re all gone.  Perhaps a better port was built elsewhere.  Perhaps business slowed down as people moved into and out of different areas.  Perhaps new ways of transport were developed.  Who knows what brings about the ghosts?  We only know that they always come.

They always come, the ghosts do.  Dead people and dead ports and dead interests.  The ghosts always come.  The living are reminded by the jagged spikes that are revealed at low tide of how frivolous all of our well-made plans really are.  When it’s all said and done, everything goes to ground.

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