Feb 20, 2008

The Wreck of the Zodiac

The third angel sounded his trumpet, and a great star, blazing like a torch, fell from the sky on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water— the name of the star is Wormwood. A third of the waters turned bitter, and many people died from the waters that had become bitter. --Revelation 8:10-12

This post was inspired by Newspaceman's Feb. 8 post: Rateral Thinking, but it began years ago - on the Whidbey Island beach where my hubby found a driftwood Enterprise. We've held onto it for years, laughingly calling it our "grilled cheese Virgin Mary".

Spencer Spit

Fast forward: The summer of 2007 found us camping at Spencer Spit, a marine State Park on Lopez Island (part of the San Juan Islands of the Pacific Northwest). Spencer Spit has a certain desolate charm, and besides being a shorebird sanctuary, it is also a navigational hazard, jutting out into a channel that forces vessels to navigate a narrow line - a rocky cliff on one side, a shallow bank on the other. Groundings are common, given the tides. Anyway, this time it was the 1924 schooner Zodiac which was caught, and it remained so for hours, waiting for the tide to finally lift her to freedom.

Another interesting thing about Spencer Spit is that Oliver (the Aussie Terrier) loves to roll in a low lying vegetation that covers the sandy shore. We called it "Terrier Nip", but after a bit of research, we discovered it to be a variety of Wormwood.

A wooden sailing ship, a wooden star ship, and both found stuck on a beach. The apocalyptic Wormwood is thought to be a massive meteor or comet striking the earth (by we Christian nut-cases). But somehow, I can't help thinking that the name 'Wormwood' is a fabulous pun, much like the names of Scottish author Iain M. Bank's 'Culture' starships (Infinity II, The Just Testing, etc.).

Ship of the Line, or Pirate?

Two Arthur C. Clarke events are scheduled this year, the now infamous Cassini/Saturn/Lucifer Project, but also, the beginning of production on 'Rendezvous With Rama'.

In the early 2000s, actor Morgan Freeman expressed his desire to produce a film based on Rendezvous with Rama. After a drawn-out development process — which Freeman states has been due to difficulties in procuring funding[2] — it now appears this will indeed be happening. IMDb, as of August, 2007, upgraded the status of the project to "announced" with an estimated release date in 2009.[3] The film is to be produced by Freeman's production company, Revelations Entertainment. --wikipedia

'Rama' is a starship that passes through the solar system, using the sun as a sort of gravitational marker. The ship rounds it like a sailboat rounds a mark, then heads for distant shores. Star ships probably navigate the cosmos via the shear between two forces - perhaps gravity and photons - which is also how sailing ships navigate - via the shear between two forces - air and water. Rama is like a starship, beating to windward, navigating a narrow channel between a rock (Sol) and a shoal (Earth). Maybe Rama is Wormwood, and maybe it misses the mark, thus running aground - on the planet.

Yesterday, a spectacular meteor was sited over the Pacific Northwest:

SPOKANE — An apparent meteor streaked through the sky over the Pacific Northwest early today, drawing reports of bright lights and sonic booms in parts of Washington, Oregon and Idaho. Although a witness reported seeing the object strike the Earth in a remote part of Adams County, in southeast Washington, it had not been found.

A meteor, seen in the state named after the first President, landing in a county named after the first man. Earth, of course, is Adam's planet.

If both rats and oil escape from a grounded ship, it makes me wonder what might escape from a grounded starship. And perhaps most intriguing, what would be her cargo?

The Captain's Stash

NOTES:

Originally designed by William Hand Jr. as an ocean racing yacht, the schooner Zodiac was built with painstaking care in 1924 in East Boothbay, Maine. Robert Wood Johnson and J. Seward Johnson of the Johnson & Johnson family were her first owners. The wooden schooner Zodiac's career includes being used in the 1993 (TNT movie of the week) 'Sea Wolf', Charles Bronson as Wolf Larson, Christopher Reeve as Humphries, and Catherine Mary Stewart. The vessel is now operated by Star Sail Cruises.

The Schooner Zodiac

As I was putting these pieces together, Gosporn article 'Go West' received a comment from 'Daedalus', on Feb. 11. Daedalus was the father of Icarus, who flew too close to the sun, and fell into the sea.

In Greek mythology, Daedalus (Latin, also Hellenized Latin Daedalos, Greek Daidalos (Δαίδαλος) meaning "cunning worker", and Etruscan Taitle) was a most skillful artificer, so skillful that he was said to have invented images. --wikipedia

Daedalus resembles the Egyptian Ptah, the god of craftsmen, and is no doubt the Greek equivalent. As Christopher Knowles tells us in Osiris, The Oscars and The Babylon Gate, Hollywood's Oscar is modeled after Ptah, AKA Daedalus. Things named Daedalus.

Daedalus launching the Icarus

Absinthe - the elixir of Bohemian Paris - is made from wormwood.

'The Wreck of the Zephyr', by Chris Van Allsburg.

Spencer's spit?

5 comments:

FilmNoir23 said...

The connection to today being Washington's birthday is intriguing to your sighting up there.

Yes, we too were lucky enough to have the chem-based clouds part so that we could view the breathtaking Blood Moon, Lord of the Rings, Heart of the Lion alignment last night.

Adam Star said...

Have you seen "The Last Mimzy"? Children find a box of "magical" toys from the far future. On Whidbey Island.

Michael said...

It's interesting that like almost everything, there are two Washingtons. I guess the state is New Washington, or maybe Washington AC.

Thanks for the tip, Adam. That's great. Whidbey is weird island - I lived there for a few years on the Southern tip, in a town named Clinton, believe it or not. The national news always hauled out some buck toothed local yocal to comment about how amazing it was to live in a town with the same name as the Prez.

Whidbey is shaped like a mini Americas - fat on the top and bottom, with a wasp waist. North Whidbey is a Naval air base, while South Whidbey has counter-culture leanings - plenty of old hippies turned gentleman farmers and such.

Newspaceman said...

First thought is Lady Diana Spencer.

cheers

Michael said...

NSM - yes. Also interesting that a Mary Stewart played a part on the Zodiac.

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