Gears and Cogs

Last weekend we did a three day cruise down the Columbia River. We took our own boat, a C&C 27.

The Columbia is large, and a major shipping channel. We passed many container ships, loaded and unloaded, with registrations from around the world. Our kids were awed by their size, and I pushed my nine year-old son to take the tiller as we passed two of them, so he could feel more in control in their presence.

These ships are major parts of our lives, even though I’ve never been close to one before. It was an interesting feeling, being so close to the “back end” of global commerce. The huge, rusting ships represented so many things– world economy, trade imbalance, labor conditions and consumerism on a major scale.

I felt proud to share this experience with the kids, even though we never talked aloud about what the ships represented. I feel my kids need to have a broader eperience in their childhood than I did. I always want them to be safe, but it seems important that they see themselves as part of a much larger community. At their age, I was in a town of 1,200 people, and spent most of my time at home or in our yard, a mile outside of “city limits.”

Our kids need to see the gears and cogs of the global economy, even if they are rusted and ugly. Perhaps because they are rusted and ugly.

A picture gallery of the three day cruise is available here. A day-by-day account is available here.

The picture below is from a quieter part of the trip, motoring up Multnomah Channel after spending the night at Coon Island.

Cruising up the Multnomah Channel

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