SLEIGHRIDE


Once, when America was young and refined petroleum unknown, the world was illuminated by oil rendered from the flesh of whales.

Of course, we think differently now.

But then, when whales abounded. men with grit sailed aboard ships powered by wind from ports like New Bedford, New London and Nantucket on perilous voyages in search of the majestic beasts.

...

Espying their prey from aloft, a cry goes out. Hastely, wooden whaleboats are lowered and six grim men--the boatheader, the harpooner and the oarsmen--put forth from the parent ship to engage the leviathan. Within range, the harpooner casts his deadly dart... Now pierced and pained, the desperate whale flees dragging the boat and crew swiftly through the churning foam... thus, haplessly, giving rise to the phrase "Nantucket sleighride".

...

Like a sleigh ride, I carve my way down the mountain. My course, a requiem, in homage to the lives of men with grit and the noble creatures they innocently and gruesomely hunted.

"O LORD, how manifold are your works! In wisdom have you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures. Here is the sea, great and wide, which teems with creatures innumerable, living things both small and great.There go the ships, and Leviathan, which you formed to play in it." -Psalm 104:24-26

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