Monday, January 30, 2012

Through the mists of time........

When I was looking through my daughter-in-law's photos on Flickr just before I came home, I saw this photo, and sort of thought...hmmm. Ann will probably delete this one. The back of my head and some blurry things in the background.

And then I looked at it again. Enlarged it. And it was a bittersweet moment, in a sense. There in the distance, are 2 container cranes. My life, our lives, revolved around container ships, and the cranes which adorned every dock the ships tied up at for 30 odd years. And looking at this completely unposed and random photo, it seemed to me that I was looking back through the mists of time at a part of my life which has gone forever.

Ann has managed to capture a moment only I would think was significant. So significant.

I remember the sea air. The winds. The movement of the ships we spent so many months on over the years. The little ones running up and down the corridors. The older ones hanging over the railings to watch the tugs and the pilot climb down the rope ladder to his boat. The gangway with its open metal treads and the cargo netting underneath it. The cabin. The pool. The sight of land approaching on the horizon, especially Table Mountain appearing at dawn as we headed into Table Bay - which must be one of the most stunning sights known to man. I used to make a point of getting up so early to go up onto the bridge to wait for it....I never ever tired of that beautiful scene. How could I? It was magical.......

And it was all encapsulated here in this photo, in a microsecond. All 30 years of it.

Isn't it strange how these things happen? I look at the photo now and I wonder what I was thinking at that exact moment. What I was seeing. Who could ever have imagined that I would one day stand on the other side of the river to where we docked, watching the cranes work in the distance? I never knew my son would be living so close to Tilbury. I couldn't have imagined showing a little granddaughter where her Grandpa's ships sailed. Told them how the huge container ships were spun around before docking so that the bow pointed out towards the river. How steam did NOT give way to sail in rivers, how they could only dock at high tides. How the cranes worked 24 hours. The sound of the cranes, the lorries, the lights, the noise of the hold hatches being put back in place.

How many women have waited on these banks of the river through the centuries for the watermen, sailors, fishermen, men who made the merchant navy, or the navy their lives? How many never came back?

I am a part of a long history, you see. Just one woman on the banks of the great river. I have sailed on it.

So many memories. My life is so different now.

My children got to see their father do the work he absolutely loved doing, was born to do. They saw him there, on that water. And so many times, they waited with me on the opposite shore, for the big white ship to appear majestically through the mists, bringing their Daddy home. The mists just like this mist. Under the cranes.

Ann captured a really special moment, without realising what she had done. My daughter-in-law and her camera are a wonderful team.

11 comments:

Helen in Switzerland said...

You just brought tears to my eyes Linds... H xx

Needled Mom said...

I was thinking what a beatiful photo it was when I saw it - before reading the post. The picture is even more beautiful now after reading what you wrote. I trust your DIL will NOT delete that photo now!!!

Vee said...

Of course, you must ask Ann. She may be a far wiser photographer than you know. It certainly is a telling photograph and I'm glad that you've saved it here. Perhaps you should frame it as you have framed your reasons for it resonating with you so well here in your wonderful prose.

Few of us have such a photograph tying up in one neat package a lifetime ago of stories.

MotherT said...

This post and the accompanying picture would be a good intro for a Grandmother's Memory book. Beautifully written!

Becky said...

So lovely. Reading this was like looking at a painting done by an impressionist painter. Misty but able to see the details. Such a beautiful writing.

The Bookworm said...

Michael once visited relatives in Cape Town and says it is the most beautiful place he has ever been.

Linda said...

This is so touching Linds. I hope Ann will read it. Just beautiful.

Lisa Marie said...

A very touching post Linds ~ thank you for sharing those memories

Dawn said...

Tears here, too. I am so thankful you found the picture and that you were able to share this lovely story with us. Especially right now, it seems so appropriate! Beautiful, friend.

Kelli said...

That touched me in so man ways, you cannot understand. The weird thing? I have no idea why.

Except that, you are a part of me . Like an unseen twin.

And that made me smile.

That is it! An a-ha moment.

Your good is my good. Your pain, my pain. You are not alone. Ever.

PEA said...

Pass me the tissues please, this post brought tears to my eyes! Isn't it amazing how one captured moment on the camera can hold so many memories. As I was reading your words I could picture it all in my mind. Yes, your life may be different now but your memories are yours to keep. xoxo