Note from Judy: I recently discovered this poetic look at an ocean crossing when I was going through some of my husband’s family’s old papers. While this piece is nearly 60 years old, it speaks to that sense of wanderlust so many of us share. Greg’s grandmother (who wrote this) and grandfather crossed the Atlantic by freighter in both directions in 1962 to visit his family, who were living in Paris briefly. This was written on the return voyage aboard the S.S. Concordia Capo.
Travel by Freighter is experienced by only a few – but loved by all who share their companionship and are attuned to the throbbing of ship’s motors, being aware of the efficiency of a skilled crew – who guide and transport the world’s cargo from ocean to ocean.
This small ship cuts lacy schollops of foam and bubbles through the ultramarine blueness of the sea, scaring little fish into flight, as it makes an endless wake each day and night. Continents, places and peoples diminish in earthly importance and the endless perimeter of the ocean and sky seem to encircle and become eternity.
Sometimes the sea is as lifeless and flat as the still, blue cloudless sky above, and the sun’s blazing reflection is dulled in the dawn’s mistiness. The spouts of gray whales break the water’s calmness and great backs rise to the surface, ruffling up a patch of water.
On a windy day, little swells form on the water and the ocean begins an endless roll into hills and valleys; and the forming clouds make shadows here and there on the boundless sea; and in the sky the thunderheads rise; and drifting cloud patterns form fascinating shapes then blow away.
The sun sinking makes a ruddy path to mark its breath-taking departure. As it sinks, it forms scarlet prisms on the horizon and paints pink patterns all over the evening sky; and the water too becomes full of such colors that make an unbelievable seascape painting.
Out of the twilight the first stars appear and before your eyes the moon disappears in the complete blackness of night. All the variations of planets can be identified and reflected twinkles in the water can be seen so the lights on the horizon, the azures, seemed like a little string of diamonds of stars captured from the evening sky
In the morning a tiny bird, a sailing schooner, far from home was all that told of land that was not a dream. Each tiny sprig of seaweed seemed a thing of beauty floating on such an ocean blueness.
The misty moistness of the gulf stream could be felt with out the fog horn to announce it and changed the tempo of our spirits – for as we pushed onward, ever onward, across the vast Atlantic the sight of land became the epitome of a welcome home.
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