Voyages from I to Thou.

Location: Skellig Michel, Ireland

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

The Singer as resident of salt Nantucket

Merchant ships are but extension bridges; aremed ones but floating forts; even pirates and privateers, though following the sea as highwaymen on the road, they but plunder other ships, other fragments of the land like themselves, without seeking to draw their living from the bottomless deep itself. The Nantucketer, he goes alone and rests on the sea; he alone, in Bible language, goes down to it in sihps; to and fro ploughing it as his own special plantation. There is his home, there lies his business, which a Noah’s flood would not interrupt, though it overwhelmed all the millions in China. He lives on the sea, as prairie cocks in the prairie; he hides among the waves, he climbs them as chamois hunters climb the Alps. For years he knows not the land; so that when he comes to it at last, it msells like another world, more strnagely than the moon would to an Earthsman. With the landless gull, that at sunset folds her wings and is rocked to sleep between billows; so at nightfall, the Nantucketer, out of sight of land, furls his sails, and lays him to his rest, while under his very pillow rush herds of walruses and whales.

- Moby Dick


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