For me, there is no greater sight and feeling than standing on the top deck of a ferry watching the Seattle skyline as the ferry approaches or departs the city at night. On a dry warm winter night, I stare and gazed at one of Seattle’s iconic ferries as it glides across the dark waters towards Pier 69. Tonight, the “Yakima” ferry will take me across the Puget Sound to my childhood home where I was born and raised. This small waterside-town is where I made my start in the world; where my ideals, thoughts, morals, and character took shape. It was also where my love of photography began. This trip, this ferry, and these waters are where I fell in love with Seattle for the first time. The ferry’s engines began to roar loudly, slipping into reverse as the boat slowly nears the pilings making them creek like an old door. As the salty wind breeze stings my eyes, I watch the water near the boat churn into a cloud of emerald green as the boat merges smoothly and gracefully with the dock. As I collect my camera gear and began to board, a childlike feeling of anticipation washes over me like it has for decades. As I walked the three flights of stairs to the top deck, I begin to remember when I fell in love with the city for the first time. I was 15 when it happened. I had traveled the ferry many times before then but this was the first time I traveled it at night and alone. As the boat sailed out of port, I stood along the railing looking over the ferry’s bow watching the Seattle skyline begin to slowly appear. As the ferry got closer and closer, the skyline seemed to approach much quicker and all of a sudden the city enveloped me as if it was wrapping its arms around me like a warm embrace. At that moment the lights, the buildings, the breezy salty air loomed over me. From then on, I was hers forever. There have been other cities that have won my heart, but Seattle will always be my cherished first. As I leave the city tonight, it feels like a joyous goodbye to an old friend, for whom you long to see again.
“When they fall in love with a city it is forever, and it is like forever. As though there never was a time when they didn’t love it. The minute they arrive at the train station or get off the ferry and glimpse the wide streets and the wasteful lamps lighting them, they know they are born for it.” ~ Toni Morrison, a Nobel Prize winning literature writer.