A Memory Captured
My husband and I booked an Alaskan cruise before COVID happened. Naturally, it was cancelled but we were given the option to reschedule the cruise. So we went in May of this year, to celebrate our 7th wedding anniversary. The cruise line took care of everything for us. We just had to fill out a bunch of paperwork and show up at the airport. We flew to Seattle, explored the city for a few hours, and then prepared to get on our ship. After standing in multiple lines for another several hours, we finally stepped aboard.
Compared to the vacations of some, ours could be called uneventful. We planned a handful of shore excursions but we mostly stayed aboard the ship or wandered the cities where we docked or just enjoyed the scenery and our own company. Being waited on hand and foot while on the ship was perhaps one of my favorite things about the entire trip, other than the state of Alaska itself. It's truly a beautiful place. Even at the busiest stop (Juneau) it had the sleepy, small-town feel, like the cities were slowly being digested by the wilderness around them. I don't think it got warmer than 50 degrees the whole time we were there. Everything was so green and alive. The most memorable stop for me was the first one, at Icy Strait Point.
We arrived later than planned due to "bad" weather (it was stormy on the high seas and it was awesome) so our excursion was cancelled. But we made the best of our time there and explored an ancient canning factory along the pier. Standing over the old wooden planks, breathing in the salt and the chill, just being present in this quiet, absolutely gorgeous moment, I was inspired to write. So I pulled out my phone and took a note as well as some pictures to try and capture the moment as well as the feelings I was experiencing.
I've been thinking about this moment a lot lately. Probably because life has been moving too fast and I've been stuck in the city for too long. I wonder if I'm the only person out there who feels the call of the wild every once in a while, the urge to flee into nature and get lost in some long forgotten place. Find a patch of earth where time can stand still and I can just enjoy the beauty around me.
This is what I wrote while standing on the pier:
On the surface, the ocean is a crumpled up piece of paper that has been reopened with its various wrinkles and creases and striations, beautifully random and alive with a strange sort of current. It moves like a gentle giant; slow, rhythmic, alien. Always in motion yet never in a hurry. It exhales and the breeze washes over me, crisp, clean, carrying with it the taste of salt and the smell of the pine trees which are standing guard over the shore. Tender waves caress the stones there, turning them over and over in a sweet, sensual dance.
The water sways beneath the pier, a collection of wooden planks and pylons that have been here since time immemorial. The wood is dying; with the constant chapping of the wind, the salt sinking into every grain, the moss sprouting from every crevasse, the sun beating down in its relentless pursuit to bleach everything it touches...what chance does the wood have of remaining as it once was? And so it decays in the most beautiful way it knows how: by creating a masterpiece of color and texture as it slowly deteriorates. The mountains bear witness to the wood's silent farewell, bowing in respect and recognition of its valiant attempt to withstand the passing of time.
I could've probably written a few more paragraphs about the spider webs I found (pictured above) or the trees that grew so close to the water or the calm but persistent wind that was blowing. But I was fixated on the wood's unique texture and overall look. So old, so tired, yet so lovely. I guess that's how one ages gracefully.
Someday, I want to go back to this place. I wonder if it'll still be the same. I know I won't be. It's a little sad but also kind of reassuring. Some things stay the same; some things can't. The world is a wonderful, terrible thing, isn't it?