prose sketch: riding the SeaBus

Fri. 25 Jan 2013 ca. 12:15 p.m. Aboard the Vancouver Beaver

Still the insistent squeal of rubber rubbing metal of the dock; but now the doors have snapped shut, the diesel horn has blasted its warning, and the engine has surged to its travel revolutions: we’re out on the quiet water of the harbor.

The clouds lie pearly and thick in a flat mass over the city, a great floating island in a pale-blue sky. We head almost into the sun, out of sight above the clouds but shining in a hammer-finish sheen on the water. We adjust course, aiming now for the great terminal cranes on the Vancouver side, the armatures of giant mechanical giraffes, all frozen, power cut.

The ferry is only lightly populated. Most of us sit facing forward in our dark coats and jackets. One or two conversations can just be heard over the engine, the vibrations of which tremble up through the carpeted floor and the bone-colored plastic seats.

We pass close to the dock on the left: the great blue hull of a ship waiting by the orange network of cranes. No humans in sight.

Now we adjust course again, aiming directly for the dock at Granville Waterfront Station. Canada Place slides by to the right. The buff and glass buildings of downtown, standing at all angles and different heights, close in over us. The engine roars in spurts, adjusting, as we head into the cave of the dock. Rocking, bumping, the waiting purr . . . and . . . we’re there.

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