A Painted Ship Upon a Painted Ocean

Halley McCormick

A Painted Ship Upon a Painted Ocean: A Ferry Ride in the Life of an Islander

Photo essay by Halley McCormick

Photos: Halley McCormick

To get home, I travel by ferry through Washington’s San Juan Islands. On one of these trips home, a man sitting on the ferry bench politely declined my request to take his picture, but a few minutes later, he got up and joined me at my seat, eyeing my Whitman sweatshirt.  He asked me if I went to Whitman College.  He said that he grew up in the San Juan Islands and graduated from Whitman in 1960.  We chatted for a few minutes, comparing our campus jobs and changes in tuition, then we went our separate ways.  Although he never did let me take his picture, I got to share a ferry ride with a man who, half a century before me, spent his childhood in my backyard and walked the halls of my future alma mater. This chance meeting inspired a different look at familiar scenes and left me with a sense of timelessness.