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From Niv Application Commentary- Annie Dillard ...

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May 8, 2006
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From NIV Application Commentary- Annie Dillard tells of the ill-fated Franklin expedition to the Arctic in 1845. It was a turning point in Arctic exploration because of its well-publicized failure. The preparations made for the voyage were not suitable for the frigid Arctic. The explorers made room on their ships for a large library, a hand organ, china place settings, cut-glass wine goblets, and sterling silver flatware instead of additional coal for their engines. The silver flatware was engraved with the individual officer’s initials and family crests. Search parties found clumps of bodies of men who had set off to walk for help when their supplies ran out. One skeleton wore his blue cloth uniform edged with silk braid, no match for the bitter arctic cold. Another apparently chose to carry with him the place setting of sterling silver flatware. What must he have been thinking to take sterling silver tableware in a search for help and food? 28 One cannot imagine that any of these sailor adventurers would have said, as they neared death on the frozen landscape, “I wish I had brought more silver place settings.” Our hanging on to things that are ultimately useless will look no less foolish. Many cannot envision life without things they cherish. They are in danger of losing the only life that counts.

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