|Salish Sea. Copyright Andrea Paterson. 2015.|
Let me tell you a story about a journey by ferry at dusk. Let me tell you about crossing the Strait of Georgia and the landscape rising out of the Salish Sea. I never tire of the ferry journey from Vancouver to Victoria. I traveled this time at sunset and stood on the deck watching the sky shift from orange to black-blue. Islands rise up from the sea in silhouette against the darkening sky. A tiny pinprick of light from a far off lighthouse shows up as a single bright pixel in my photographs. There's an ancient magic in the pine trees creating a jagged line on the horizon and the dampness of the night air.
I don't always feel quite at home in Vancouver. The city insists on maintaining a certain off-putting sense of self-importance. While there is much I enjoy about my life there, I still get a niggling feeling of uprootedness, a distance from people and culture, and disconnectedness from the landscape. That changes as I traverse the Salish Sea and leave the mainland behind. Only on the water do I finally feel a part of something majestic. I can almost feel the energy of wild animals lurking in the forests. There is a moment when human landscapes recede into the background and I briefly touch the wildness of the Gulf Islands. In transit between two of BC's major cities there is a swathe of the untamed. I look for Orcas among the peaks of small waves, but see none this time.
The ferry cuts a path through cold, deep water. I wonder at the people staring at their phones, missing what is certainly one of the most beautiful sunsets they could hope to see. The water and the sky are broken by the black bodies of landmasses, otherwise the sea and air might become indistinguishable from each other. How easy it would be to become lost out here. The mythic slips in through your widening pupils.
When the city overwhelms me I need to remember what lies only an hour or two beyond it--the strong pulse of the water rushing around the land.
|Night from the Ferry. Copyright Andrea Paterson. 2015.|