I took a ferry ride from Anacortez, a quaint little port town in the state of Washington to Fisherman’s creek, the port of a small, not so well known island called San Juan. San Juan is situated on the waters of the Salish Sea, between the Coast of Washington and British Columbia. The month long visit to the magnificent state of Washington was my mother’s gift to me for completing 18 years on this earth without getting myself into too much of trouble. The island runs on lavender cultivation and farming—mostly the Alpaca farm and other staples. It is a favorite with the whale watchers and has an untouched forest reserve which one can visit to have a rough idea of how the earth was before the humans ravaged it.
On this 2 hour long ferry ride, I met a couple—in their mid-60s who were making the trip with their dog Lassy. Lassy was a big old St. Bernard who had been with the family for ‘as long as they could remember’. I was standing on the deck of an otherwise empty ferry watching the pristine blue waters, the hillocks surrounding the bay and listening to the call of the occasional sea gull which came our way to rest on the sail, when the lady came up to me with Lassy and got talking.
The hour long discussion ranged from topic to topic and was a surprisingly effortless one, considering that I found it hard to decipher their accent and they- mine. After we covered the basics, I found that this couple had been together for 45 years. They had met in high school, went to the same college and got married after. They had no kids—just a series of highly unlikely pets, ranging from Tod the boa to Bambi the deer and currently Lassi the dog. Their life was a fairly simple one—they worked through the week and visited the island in the weekend. They were happy. When they asked me what my plans were for the future—I told them I wanted to travel the world; see all that there was to be seen. The lady smiled and said—but you do realise that you can’t possibly see everything; there will be somethings left to be seen and if you hurry, you miss out on seeing what you have and where you are. None the less she wished me luck for my future endeavors. Thereafter we disembarked the ferry and went our own ways.
San Juan was an experience I will never forget. Every detail is clear in my head. When I think about it, I can smell the salt in the air, taste the fish and chips of the Rocky bay café, feel the pebbles on the beach, the texture of the alpaca fur and see the lavender ripe for harvest in the farm. During sunset, if you wait patiently for the right moment, you can see the fleeting purple glow over the lavender farm. Those 2 days, I was euphoric and all my thought of travelling the world were gone. I would be content to just stay there. On my way back, I met them while waiting for the ferry to arrive. The lady asked me how I enjoyed and I told her that I had a great time and I would be content to just stay there for the rest of my life.
She smiled and congratulated me for seeing. They were going back to Seattle for the week, but they would be back the following weekend. That was when I envied them. They had known peace and satisfaction. They knew a lot despite having travelled to just one place for the last 60 years. They had seen and valued what was in front of them. Today, I wonder whether I will ever be able understand her smile when she boarded the ferry with her husband and dog…even after I have travelled to all the places I wish to.