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Sounds of the 7:05

August 1st, 2003 · No Comments

During the mornings I was working on the deck outside, I could hear the sounds of the highway that runs near our house. Without looking at my watch, I could tell the time by the traffic since I knew the ferry schedule. The 7:05 boat (once was 7:10) is the “largest mass transit event this side of the Mississippi” which explains both the interest of Al Gore – campaigning on the boat in 2000 (he shook my husband’s hand) – and more recently Al-Qaida in our ferries.

Standing out on our deck, jar of stain in hand, I could hear the engines, like the tocks of a strange clock indicating time. The morning was mostly quiet, when I woke, a basic background hum, but then around 6:45 the rush began. The traffic intensified. I heard buses heading to the boat, diesel engines accelerating south on the highway. Motorcycles, the first vehicles to unload, drove up from the dock where the ferry had arrived from Seattle. The clamor crescendoed: cars, buses, motorcycles adding to the mix, making a symphony of sounds, going to and from the ferry dock – and then at 7 it suddenly subsided . A few cars, probably walk – on passengers hoping to dash onto the boat before it departed – sped down the hill. Then quiet returned, at least a subdued hum, for twenty minutes or so, until the rush for the 7:55 began again: this rush not quite as loud as the earlier commute, but still noticeable, a crescendo in its own accord.

There I was on my deck, looking at stripped posts and pine trees, birds and squirrels moving about me in the morning light, and I had a sense of the world rushing – almost literally – past my doorstep. I heard it rushing by me, like a river, a stream of sound, full of momentum and power. I think of all the driving and striving, all the routines and running, the stress of schedules, the calculations of commuting. I think of all the people passing by, the hundreds, thousands of commuters coming and going by my home on that highway each day. People merging into masses, nameless faces on the road.
Two words I’d want to say to each one come to mind:
STOP and

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