So there’s this pirate ship on the side of the highway that takes you to Niagara Falls. I mean it’s probably not a pirate ship, I don’t know what kind of ship it is. But as a person obsessed with Peter Pan and Neverland I’ve told myself it’s a pirate ship since I was a little. I’ve thought about researching the thing a couple of times but I don’t want to ruin the illusion for myself.
I’ve lived not far from here my whole life and there have been numerous reasons to come out this way. Things like school trips and hockey tournaments. Anyway, when you’re almost here there’s this crows nest just sticking out over the barrier.
As you get closer you see that the masts belong to a run down ship grounded by the side of the lake. Every time we drove by it I would make up stories about the crew that used to man it and how it ended up there. Most of the things I came up with had to do with piracy of some kind. There was a woman captain who was pretty badass but I don’t really remember many of the details of her character. I also tried really hard to figure out a way to use it to get to Neverland. Ultimately I never came up with anything that I actually thought would work.
I’ve stopped at this ship many times. Almost everyone I’ve travelled with has said: “you know I’ve always wanted to stop there and check that thing out up close.” To which I reply “So why haven’t you?” It usually has something to do with the driver being in a rush. Luckily I’m one of those people who appreciates the journey as much as the destination, so I indulge them and let them check things out up close. People are always so quiet in its presence. I always wonder what people think when we get there. The first time I stopped there, it was partly the dream of stopping being over and partly how the details piqued my curiosity in a new way.
Like these trees… are they cannibal trees? Obviously, the dirt for them to grow had to come from somewhere. How many trees have attempted to grow there and failed? Eventually rotting and creating dirt… for more trees… Also, does the Inn/tavern close by even take care of this ship? Or do they just sit idly by and let it rot further while they cash in? Same with the Tim Horton’s and all the other businesses around here. What do any of them do for this old girl who brings people to this otherwise uneventful piece of shoreline? Surely Timmies executives didn’t pick the stoplight up the road (that’s in the middle of nowhere between towns) because there’s a lot going on around here. So should they be responsible for taking care of this ship? Building heritage signs and maintaining the spot where people park would really brighten up this place. What about providing garbage cans so people have an option other than littering? Or they could clean her up so there’s not cannibal trees building a society on this piece of history.
On the other hand, posting historical plaques might take away the mystery of this particular spot. This ship is probably something important and historical. However, if I find out the truth this particular boat would stop being a source of inspiration. Perhaps what draws people to it is the fact that we don’t know where it’s from. Each visitor’s imagination is allowed to run wild with the infinite possibilities of how this ship came to be here. I believe that sometimes engaging in fiction is just as important as finding the facts. The internal conflict between preserving the mystery and finding the truth is just one example of that.