Wake of the Dutchman

"I must go down to the sea again, to the lonely sea and sky,

and all I ask is a tall ship and a start to lead her by;

and the wheel's kick and the wind's song, and the white sail's shaking;

and a gray mist on the sea's face and a grey dawn breaking..."

from John Masefield's Sea Fever

These lines speak to my heart as I wander the coastal towns from Long Island to Maine, snooping in tidal pools, estuaries, harbors, and shipyards for new discoveries.

Shipyards are a favorite place to visit during early winter evenings. Alone, on a deserted pier, the vessels resting for the season, you can feel the lonesome call of the Dutchman. Riggings torn, rudders warped, these grand dames rest in a netherworld which is the color of earth and sky. In the wake of the Dutchman, they lie in wait, impatient to be reborn. Eager for the westerly winds to lift their sails and return them to their ocean home.

Some are here for only a season, before their hulls are repaired and they set sail again. Others remain, like me, year after year, waiting for the call to take them home.