Friday, August 2, 2013

the winslow ferry



You notice a difference in the air as soon as you step out of the car. It’s chillier now, and smells of the ocean—that fishy, salty, seagull-y scent of the northern shores of the Pacific. The ferry rocks ever so gently as more and more cars park in neat rows on the several decks. You step up to the railing and peer over the edge at the murky green water churning a dozen feet below, and hope you don’t accidentally-on-purpose throw anything valuable overboard.

The final cars cram onto the upper decks and the ferry pushes away from Bainbridge Island with a hearty shove. The public address system begins to recite safety information, should anything go tragically wrong. You oscillate between half-listening for preparation’s sake and blocking it out for sanity’s sake as you jog up two flights of stairs to the middle floor.

Here, hundreds of people have already congregated. They sit in pairs or groups at the spacious tables next to the windows, playing cards or crowding around each other’s phones. On the opposite side of the aisle, lonesome commuters in business dress read newspapers over cups of coffee—silent strangers to the energy around them. A handful of tourists gathers by the brochure display. Still, the greatest percentage of people can be found in the rows of theater-like seating at the ship’s bow, watching the Seattle skyline’s gradual approach.

You move past them to the front deck and are immediately slapped in the face by a biting cold wind, which proceeds to whip through your hair and creep down your spine. You dodge the tourists getting their pictures taken in front of the Space Needle and climb another flight of stairs to the upper deck, where the wind is even stronger and the pedestrian traffic is zero.

There, you watch in silence, alone, while the ship presses onward toward Seattle. It’s a mere half-hour of sailing and you pass a ferry or two headed the opposite direction on your way. Your limbs begin to grow numb and achy from the brutal wind, but something holds you there, mesmerized, watching the skyscrapers grow ever taller and more detailed as the Puget Sound rolls by, the haze thins, and the ferry prepares to dock.

1 comment:

  1. your words are beautiful and captivating, and make me feel like I was really there too.
    and the first photo is amazing!!! Love this post, Hallie.



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