Riding in Boats

Here I am traveling across the Puget Sound on the Walla Walla, http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/ferries/your_wsf/our_fleet/index.cfm?vessel_id=36 ,one of the ferries in the Washington State ferry system.  I rarely ride the ferries here as I live at the point where it makes no difference time-wise or mile-wise whether I drive around or take a ferry.

I grew up riding ferries in Michigan.  My grandparents had retired to an island in the Straits of Mackinac (pronounced mack-in-aw to those not from around there).  As a child the ferry to the island was the mail boat and it could fit only one car.  In rough waters you alternated between a view of the sky and a view of the depths.  Now the ferry to the island carries I believe 10 cars filled mostly with summer folk.  I miss spending time on the island as I live too far away.  Now I get to experience it only through photos my family posts on Facebook and tales told over the telephone.  One of my favorite sites comes at the end of the 45 minute ride as the white shores and green trees of the island come into view.  By the dock a large American flag waves brilliant against the blue of the sky.

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My ferry ride from Kingston to Edmonds the other day only lasted 20 minutes and instead of the thrill of unloading supplies and greeting friends and family there was the anonymous rush of getting up to 188 cars off so the 188 cars for the return trip could get on.

My journey on Friday was to a little town at the base of Whitehorse Mountain called Darrington.  I was meeting up with friends for the celebration of Caryn and Matt’s wedding.  The weather has been coolish and drizzly over the last week or so and we were promised more of the same over the weekend and into the coming week.

The morning of the wedding dawned bleak and damp.  A small group of us (the bride, her sister Xoe and her husband Jeff and myself) wandered across the street from the hotel for coffee.  The girl had just opened so we stood around talking waiting for the espresso machine to warm up and make those wonderful gurgley noises indicating caffeine is on the way.  Caryn pointed up to where clouds obscured the view of the mountain and said, “Look!  I see a patch of blue!”  Sure enough there was a quarter sized hole in the cloud cover.  We joked about how we need to work it like you prepare a silk cap for spinning – poke a hole and gradually spread the fiber apart.  Wouldn’t you know the sun was out in time for the noon wedding and nothing but a few fluffy white clouds dotting the great blue expanse.

Withe the sound of the river in the background, Whitehorse Mountain looking down, and with forty or so friends and family gathered in the sunlight Matt and Caryn became man and wife.

So, my meanderings come full circle.  Though I am far from my family, the friends I grew up with, and the places I loved growing up I am surrounded by friends close enough to be considered family and discovering new places to love everyday.


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