In Port: Chains, Fenders, and Other Emotional Extractions.

Get onto the ferry.

Go through ramps, and fence, and rail.


View of north slip and transfer bridge from ferry’s rail, Vineyard Haven Terminal.

Up on deck, look over the railing.

Look down.

At the water near the ferry, near the dock, moved by currents, and wind.

Look through the darkening air at the water, concrete, steel, and rubber.


Fender, chains, dock and bumber/shock absorber. VH Ferry dock.

The dock is there through heat, cold, wet, dry, light, and dark.


Further out, there are pilings, waves, reflections.


VH terminal pilings. Handheld, moving camera, one second exposure.

I have ridden these ferries for over sixty years, from infancy to now.  As a baby I bounced in summer sunlight on the red leatherette seats of the old “Islander”.  Since I have family, friends, and deep connections on both Cape Cod and on the Vineyard, much of my life has been spent going back and forth between Island and Off-Island. Many Vineyarders actually use the terms “Here” and “Away”.

I’ve ridden the boat in just about every mental state there is, from wonder to boredom, from ecstasy to misery.

Why can a ferry ride be such an emotional experience? Maybe because in some ways a ferry ride is an accidental meditation. You have to make an effort to get to the boat. You have to plan, you are a slave to the clock, you have to get to the dock on time. Hand over your ticket, go up the ramp, find a seat, and……………..

Then if you’re not laden with other distractions, suddenly you’re just “there”. “You’ve got to hurry” turns  into “you can’t hurry anymore”, because you made the boat. At moments like that, those changes of orientation, at that transitional time, you can get glimpses of how you’re feeling.

One response to “In Port: Chains, Fenders, and Other Emotional Extractions.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s