Monday, August 10, 2015

The Wreck of the Peter Iredale

"You should have been here ten years ago," the stranger commented as she watched me frame my photographs.  "The whole hull was visible then,"

Ah, yes.  Yet another Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda.

Even so, the wreckage of this grounded sailing vessel is hauntingly beautiful.  In October of 1906, the Peter Iredale met with a rising tide and a strong northwesterly squall as she neared the mouth of the Columbia River.  She was thrown ashore where she quickly sunk into the sand.
The ship was sailing from Mexico to Portland, Oregon.  She had a crew of 27 and two stowaways.  Everyone made it to shore safely.

No wonder this part of the coastline is called "The Graveyard of the Pacific."  Since 1792, 2,000 vessels have sunk as they approached the channel.  The combination of high seas, the strong current of the Columbia River and the shallow shifting of sand bars make this approach an especially treacherous one.

Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda.
I shoulda taken that job in Chicago.
I shoulda told that publisher to keep my novel "on consideration" as long as she wanted.
I shoulda gone to Egypt when I lived a stone's throw away.
I walk down the beach for miles and miles until the surf washes away my regrets.  I let the soft sand slide through my toes; the weepy fog coat my cheeks with spray.

I am here.
I am happy.
Bury the Shouldas.

My ship is still afloat.

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