“Shaw Island. We’re now arriving on Shaw Island.”
The announcement startles me. I’d been so absorbed in my writing meditation on the ferry that I hadn’t detected the boat slowing down. I wasn’t really aware the vessel had been moving. I looked up from the glowing white of my laptop screen to notice the jagged, black treetops on the shore outlined by the rising sun.
This is how I start my day twice a week. On those mornings, my pre-dawn meditation silence is broken by the voice of a ferry crew member announcing our progress on the route to the neighboring island where I work part-time as the school nurse. Between the time I wait in the Lopez Island ferry line to board until I off-load at the run’s second stop on Orcas Island, I steal 45 minutes to quiet, center, pray, and write.
Here I write fast, ignoring typos and grammar, just trying to get the words down as they flow out of my solitary worship time. Often, like today, an idea comes to me that eventually ends up as a blog entry, and I get the beginning kernels on the page.
It’s not much time, but it’s a start. No phone, no Internet connection, no piles of bills and correspondence to distract me. Just me, in the quiet of my little maroon Subaru, the boat’s humming engine muffling other sounds.
I could get out of the car; walk upstairs to the warmth of the passenger cabin and the quiet murmurings of other ferry commuters. I’ve done that on some particularly cold mornings when my car hasn’t retained the heater’s blast during my 10-minute drive from home to the Lopez landing. But today, and most days, I decide instead to stay in my private confessional/meditation space and write my way closer to Spirit.
“Orcas Island. We’re now arriving on Orcas Island. Drivers and passengers please return to your vehicles. Orcas Island.”
I slide my cursor up to the “Save” icon, then direct my laptop to “Shut Down.” An orange-vested crew member signals for me to drive off the deck and up the ramp of the ferry landing. I breathe in and out, deeply, a few times, and give thanks for these few minutes of solitude.