Living on an island has its challenges, but it also has its rewards, revealing special moments that speak to the kinship of isolation and the camaraderie of everyone being in (and on) the same boat.
While commuting by ferry creates bottlenecks and headaches daily, it also fosters a bond, an unspoken appreciation that someone else shares your daily roundtrip odyssey. The smiles and nods to familiar strangers, one day makes them friends. So tonight when I returned to the island from a very long day in a less-welcoming place, I stood on the bow well before we reached Vashon. I savored that simple joy of returning home. The wind was bracing, the sky spun with gold, and the Olympic Mountains seized the horizon and my attention.
On the open car deck, Christmas trees topped a number of vehicles. One Jeep sported a wreath on its grille, the kids behind its steamed-up windows singing spirited renditions of the season’s best (between punches). I smiled; their parents smiled. The choir continued the concert.
With the din of the ferry silenced, we docked and I disembarked, walking more than briskly toward the warm, waiting bus. A stream of cars sped off the ferry and then one honked. I turned in time to see Santa in an SUV giving us a wave. I returned a smile and hearty hat tip.
Christmas had come to Vashon. I just had no idea we’d share the same ferry.