Fragile Oasis

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Pilgrims Progress

On September 6, 1620, a ship with her passengers and crew set sail from Plymouth Harbor in England on a 3,000-mile voyage across the Atlantic Ocean to the "new world," planning to drop anchor where eleven years earlier the explorer Henry Hudson sailed in what is now New York Harbor, at the mouth of the river that bears his name (left-bottom).


Long Island to Provincetown photographed by a human living and working on the International Space Station


Sixty-six days later, on November 21, buffeted by ocean winds and with winter fast approaching, the ship known as the Mayflower instead dropped anchor at the sight of Provincetown, the hooked sheltering harbor on the eastern edge of Cape Cod.


This voyage is remembered with Thanksgiving in the United States - rooted in the harvest of the following autumn - and made possible because of the help of the native population. A little less than 400 years later, a ship with her crew peacefully orbit Earth, more than likely unimaginable to explorers, natives and new settlers of the early 17th century, yet made possible by cooperation among nations and people in the 20th and 21st – pilgrims progress.