Saturday, March 2, 2013

Laughing Skies and Metal Frames

Photo taken via Instagram (Sept 2012) 

Steamship Authority ferry rides to Martha’s Vineyard will be forever engrained in my memories of childhood. Whether the always-cool wind slid against my skin or whipped my cheeks, the waves brushed softly on the sides of the boat or battered its metal paneling, forcing it into an uncomfortable rocking back and forth, back and forth, rides to and from the island have remained in my head far longer than the individual vacations from all the years.

Every ride, I look forward to watching the boat push its way through the sea separating me from my vacation. The white of the curled water seems to float along the bow of the boat. I wait, watching the blue peaks, for any anomalies, imagining what lies deep below the surface I’m observing. When I was younger, I used to think that sharks and underwater kingdoms swam beneath me as I sped across the water. My creativity hasn’t waned very much. There were still rides this summer when I questioned what exactly was beneath me.

If I’m lucky, the ferry ride home coincides with a laughing sky. Reds, oranges, pinks, whatever color litters the sky. The tips of the clouds are white, but somehow their masses have adopted new shades of purple, like the darkness of storm clouds without the intimidation you feel upon spying them. Perhaps the purple is majestic or royal, signifying that there’s something up there, something with a power I could never imagine or possess.

It’s September of 2012, and I’m standing on the deck of the Island Queen. Three cars to the left of mine, a grease-grey SUV was parked with two bikes parked on its hood. I want to watch the quiet waltz of the colors in the sky in a silence of my own, so I climb onto the top of my car, sit cross-legged, and wait for the majesty. I turn my head to the left and spy two bikes riding along the horizon. A moment passes before I realize the same bikes gliding across the sky are also tied to the grease-grey SUV parked three cars to the left of mine. They seemed so alive, mystically moving among the colors above me, but they’re just pieces of metal, connected and together tied to more metal. I look around me: more metal and cement. So much grey. Why does the sky get to have all the color? Even the sea below me has shades of purples or gold as the light flicks into its waves. The clouds cannot reflect into cement.

The ferry ride is over. The grease-grey SUV parked three cars to the left of mine exits the boat’s gate before me, and I watch the bikes float through the orange and into a final dip, as they cross the boat’s threshold, swaying in the wind until they disappear.