Yesterday I took a day off and stood in the middle of an empty downtown, contemplating the old Roxy theater. The marquis was now advertising Jesus. I walked by war memorials with bits of submarines, and a gift shop that still had an old-fashioned soda machine in the entryway. A retired warship sat in the harbor, its cannons pointed up in a salute that was less welcoming than I might have desired. I felt a little like I had just walked into an episode of The Twilight Zone. Despite this, I was not distressed.
I’d come to Bremerton for the ferry ride, a cheap way to get a mini-vacation from my home base in Seattle. For less than buying lunch you can get two hours out on the water and a chance to get out of town. I could have gone to Bainbridge Island, which has cute little shops and white picket fences, but I almost always choose Bremerton. Bainbridge is much closer, so there’s less time to enjoy the ride and see the sights. I enjoyed watching the cormorants drying their wings, and the loons fishing in the bay. On the way back to Seattle the ferry changed direction and Mount Rainier appeared to rise from Elliot Bay, more majestic than the sunset that surrounded it. I’ve heard you can sometimes see whales and seals from the ferry, but I’ve never yet been that lucky.
I also really enjoy wandering around Bremerton. It’s home to a navy shipyard, so the apparent emptiness most likely means that the people are all busy at work. There’s a free naval museum, but it didn’t happen to be open, so it’ll be a good excuse to go back. I may pass up the warship, though. It seems slightly ominous. I enjoyed the silence on my long walk, and the starfish and seagulls in the slight murk of the revamped harbor. It’s rare to experience such quiet tranquility in a downtown area, so I savored it. It’s fun to explore somewhere new, and without the cute little shops I’m not tempted to spend money I shouldn’t. Like everywhere in Washington, there are many options for decent coffee. As long as the essentials are covered, I’m a happy camper. I can’t wait to go back, to take another mini-vacation from my working day. I returned back to my activities refreshed, holding yesterday’s silence in my heart. I love my adopted city and all the opportunities it provides.
Your assignment, should you choose to accept it:
225. Take a day off from your commitments to recharge your batteries, and explore somewhere close by that you’ve never visited. What did you find that surprised you? What was the best part of the experience? The worst? Share the details with a friend.