Forgive me, Blogger, it has been three weeks since my last confession. But springtime is when many schools host their Young Authors Conferences and Writing Weeks. I’ve been busy telling stories, often in tandem performance with my son Eli.
That means rehearsing, planning, travel. Last Wednesday I had to hit the road early to spend the day at Helen Haller Elementary in Sequim, WA. With all its water, Washington State has marine highways, with ferries to carry cars along waterways and crossings. I was up by 5AM, caught the 6:20AM ferry from Edmonds to Kingston, and drove from there to the Olympic Peninsula.
Edmonds is my neck of the woods. I’ve admired many a sunset over the dock, like this impromptu shot I once took by cellphone, when caught without my camera. But sunrise is another matter entirely. The night before, I took care of all the details, laying out my clothes, Mapquesting school and ferry schedules, and arranging with my old friend, Mr. Coffee, to have a cuppa joe brewed and ready to go when I was.
It was still pitch black when I pulled into the ferry line.
The incoming ferry disgorged bikes, motorcycles, and cars, all scurrying off to follow the Pied Piper’s call to the city. After the last car drove off, we bleary-eyed travelers were loaded onto The Spokane.
As I pulled up, with a view of the water before me, I realized that l’Heure Bleue, The Blue Hour, was upon us.
Nothing is more fleeting than those precious moments between night and day, just at twilight and just before dawn. I even remembered to bring my camera to catch the details of my day.
We passed another ferry–two boats passing in the not-quite-night…
I couldn’t get quite the crisp shot I aimed for, because the camera started flashing the dreaded ‘change battery’ signal. Feeling smug, I loaded the extra battery I always carry in my case, and went to shoot my green van on the car deck from above.
The boat was practically deserted…
…but I saw beautiful patterns and details everywhere.
I had just enough time for a self-portrait…
… before heading back down to the car deck.
My camera started flashing again! Dang! My newly changed battery was out of juice! Bad dog! I had forgotten to recharge it.
I caught one last photo of our disembarkation, stashed my camera, and determined to enjoy a day without a lens between me and my world. Undocumented, but not forgotten, are the details of that day. The smell of salt in the air, the mist on the mountains, a dusting of fresh snow in the heights, cows grazing in the golden foothills. Best of all, 600 eager children, kindergarten through fifth grade, with bandaids on their knees, mismatched socks, shining eyes and open hearts. I wish I could show you the little guy with the buzz cut who came up after my last show and stammered, “You…you…you’re a beautiful girl!” It’s been a long time since this fiftysomething has heard that, and it made me smile from ear to ear. As I walked through the hall, big kids grinned and waved, or shyly asked for my autograph. Younger ones came running for a hug, and stuck to me like little velcro teddy bears.
I still had a long drive from the peninsula to catch the ferry home. I expected to just miss the 4:10, even without my camera to slow me down. They were loading when I pulled up. I didn’t even ask–the guy in the booth grinned and said, “You’re gonna make it.”
It had been The Blue Day, filled from start to finish with precious fleeting moments. It seemed fitting that The Spokane, which delivered me across the water, had come to take me home. I glanced at the dashboard clock. Even the tiniest detail fell into place, as if I had just come full circle. I took out my camera and, yes! it had recharged just enough to squeeze one more photo from a very tired battery.
All words and images copyright Naomi Baltuck.
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