Written by Pat Boardman
I was hitch-hiking from Vancouver in 1973 to reach California with my guitar and gym bag, traveling light as always, when a group of four young Americans picked me up. We were turned away at the land border because of my guitar being a tool of my trade, so we re-routed to the ferry crossing twenty miles away where one of the U.S. group said it was his guitar so that we could cross the border and take the water voyage.
It wasn't yet sundown when the ferry pushed off for its four-hour journey to Seattle. The scattered gulls flew overhead searching for a light breeze on which to glide in the perfect still weather of this autumn day in the Pacific North-West.
The ship cleared the inlet and soon we were on the open ocean. Far from being a tedious journey from one place to another, it was a trip that brought passengers to witness one of the most scenic places on Earth. The sunset was beginning and everyone went to the west side of the deck, drawn by the changing colors of the sun that reflected in across the Pacific. The waters through which the ship passed were dotted by very tall grassy rocks that each stood alone in quiet shadows to decorate Puget Sound.
The moments went by slowly as I watched the intense colors of the darkening gold sun surrounded by its domain of light on the horizon, creating more overwhelmingly beautiful mixes of the spectrum refracted into violets and reds through the mist and delivered by ripples of ocean to the minds of grateful humans who could appreciated the good fortune of living in a time with no limits, no end in sight.
I had never before been surrounded by the cool and salty moist air of a ship at sea. The purity of the scene was a renewal of trust in life; an affirmation of my belief that somewhere on the planet there was a place where perfection in nature could be seen and breathed in. The sun drew lower on the edge of the world and the hundreds of miles of colors turned darker into magentas and purples with auras of gold. It became easy for me to see how civilizations long ago assumed that the Earth was flat, for it was as though the sun had slipped into the water and fallen off the edge.
I remember hoping to take this trip many more times; I had just watched the sun going down in full sight without buildings, trees or land in the way – seeing all this for the first time. I knew only sidewalks, highways and smoke-filled bars most of my life, but my magic spot on the island where the mushrooms grew and this vision of the Pacific sundown I was witnessing convinced him that it was well worth looking forward to the struggle of facing one more day. It was a comfort to know that there was a reason for everything and there were some rewards for those who could now be inspired to enjoy life.
Our group went inside after dark to the dining lounge. All of us were having trouble putting the experience into words. We couldn't take it all in, that phenomenal twilight in the ocean. It was a pity that darkness fell and the voyage would soon be over.
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