A Hasty Retreat (August 22, 2013)

[Part 13 of 14.   Solovki 2013]

Word is spreading through the town that a storm is approaching and the ferries may be shut down the next day.   The woman behind the desk at the excursion bureau tried to calm the growing number of people questioning her.   No, she didn’t know if the ferries would stop running but yes a big storm was promised.   But why worry, she asked.   Life will go the way it goes.   Stay and enjoy the island, and if you are stuck here another day, no problem, it is just another day of holiday, no?

I tried to take her island advice, but with a train to catch to take me to my plane to catch back home, I decided safer was better than sorrier.  And I joined an ever increasing horde of travelers advancing on the ferry.

It was a packed boat but we all made it on (although I wouldn’t have wanted to test the number of lifeboat spaces).

We fed the seagulls as drizzle came down

And I was reminded that even now with all the powers that humans have to transform the natural world, sometimes we still need to change our plans and to adapt our lives to the vagaries of weather.   Storms still keep ships in harbor.   Human aspirations are buffeted by high seas and white capped waves.   We are controlled less by the vagaries of nature than our forebears, but we are still not in control.

The rains, winds, and waves did come, and the ferries did stop running the next day.   I was happy to have made the right decision, but very sad to leave Solovki.

Next year Chernobyl.

a view of Solovki

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