“I know not what to call this, nor will I urge that it is a secret, overruling decree, that hurries us on to be the instruments of our own destruction, even though it be before us, and that we rush upon it with our eyes open.”
--Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe
So here he was, shipwrecked upon a foreign shore. The storm itself, which had driven him upon this tropical land, had blown and tossed the tiny ship for ten years.
Yes, ten years.
It did not rain the entire time. Sometimes the sun shone. Sometimes it seemed even to stand still in the heaven. Then again at other times the clouds grew heavy and day could barely be distinguished from night and there was no moon and no sun and it was very hard to separate this from death itself.
There were beginnings, there were endings, beginnings, endings, and it was all rather more monotonous than dramatic, for drama, when relentless, merely numbs.
In short, shipwreck, the end of rocking and tossing, of nearly drowning, of nearly perishing from thirst, of clinging to the oar, of sleeping drenched in the ruined sail, of tumbling like the plaything of an angry feline god – shipwreck became salvation.
He had lain on that foreign sand for some years before waking, before clearing his eyes, before seeing that the broken silhouette on the beach, half sunken in the surf, was not a rock, but his boat.
Where had he come from? He could hardly remember, the way one barely remembers a broken bone. But he was here, and his two hands clutched full fists of white sand and the sand sifted through his fingers and there was always more.
And the shipwrecked man began to laugh, and he laughed, and he laughed, full to overflowing with joy.
I am here, he said. It is finished.