On the Boat, Watching the World Go By

by Kurt Cagle

I'm sitting on the Queen of Sannich, one of the older BC ferries, on its way to Vancouver from Victoria. A gentle fog envelopes the surrounding water, turning the small islands that we pass into abstract hills fading into the distance and the water itself into pale white sheets broken only slightly by the turbulence of our passing. Earlier, we had a spitting of snow, a last lingering reminder that winter gives up its presence only very reluctantly, even into these first days of March.

I usually enjoy these trips on the ferry, for all that they add considerably to the complexity of returning to the mainland. They are times for reflection, for helping to put things into perspective. Reflection, and the time for it, is becoming a rare commodity in this world. We move at "Internet Speeds", twenty-four hours a day, caught up in the big now, yet in all of our trumpeting of technological advance we often lose sight of the fact that the truly profound discoveries and realizations of humanity did not come from the middle manager, from the hyperactive programmer or the driven politician. Instead, they came from people who sacrificed some or all of their worldly drive for goods and status in favor of spending time in reflection, for taking the time to truly think.