A typical Edmonds morning

By John Owen | Aug 19, 2011

 "Overcast in the morning, partial clearing in the afternoon."  That's our  formula in Edmonds.  It keeps us cool, and gives us  reason to believe that there are better times ahead.

But  sometimes the weatherman keeps us guessing.

 I didn't have to speculate as I lay in bed early one morning in July.  I could hear fog horns, from the ferry landing.

An hour later I was strolling the waterfront.  

It was a sight to behold.  More correctly,  I was rendered sightless by the fog.

I sat on a bench near the Senior Center, a few feet from the waterfront totem pole.  The ferry boat was docked not more than 100 yards away.  

That was a guess, based on experience.  Because the ferry boat was invisible.  

In fact the fog was so thick I couldn't even see the outline of the pedestrian walkway leading up to the ferry landing.

After about 15 sightless minutes, the fog lifted slightly and the ferryboat emitted a booming, 10 second blast on the whistle and began to move slowly out onto the sound.   The blast was followed by two more, warning any unseen fishermen that "Showboat Was 'Acoming."

It's not true that "what you can't see won't hurt you."  Radar helps the ferry captain identify major  traffic between Edmonds and Kingston.

It wouldn't provide much protection for a fisherman trolling from a canoe, or for a couple of intrepid kayakers.

So the ferry toots its way into the fog.  Was that an echo in the distance?  Actually it was a blast from another ferryboat just leaving Kingston, headed our way.

At that moment, two great white whales rule the waves.   The captains take turns, leaning on their fog blasters.  

It's a sight, a sound, a sensation I have never felt anywhere, except on that particular morning, while sitting on a bench near the totem pole.

Four hours later, the fog had completely disappeared and the  beach below the bench I had occupied became a bright, noisy scene as kids shrieked their way  in and out of the icy water and concerned mothers emitted foghorn blasts of warning.

Then they all pause, to watch the arrival of the noontime ferry from Kingston, glistening in the sun.

A native of this area has an explanation for the contrasting sights and sounds on the waterfront.   

It was "an Edmonds kind of day."

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