|Pike’s Market Place, Seattle, Washington 2004|
The press of the crowd was stifling on a record breaking 106 degrees on the streets above the Seattle waterfront. We came to the northwest in July to visit friends and get away from the triple-digit weather back home in Arizona. Instead, it looked like we brought the heat with us.
Flesh brushed against flesh as perspiration trickled down our backs and clothes clung like the smell of fish in the famous Pike’s Place Market. No matter how humid and thick the air we breathed, this packed world famous market place was not to be missed. This place where fish are tossed through air to waiting customers by fishmongers hawking their goods. People from around the world visit the Market just to see this sight.
As we squeezed through the Saturday crowd, who probably were shopping for that evening’s dinner, we passed stands of fresh produce, buckets of wildly colorful flowers, and stalls displaying handcrafted items for sale (a must-stop for me). Along the upper street level, we inhaled of the sights, smells, sounds, and characters advertised in Seattle’s tourism brochure. They refer to the Market Place as a “free-form funhouse.” An apt description that is probably more enjoyable in 70 or 80 degree weather.
Crowds and heat followed us everywhere on this trip. When we boarded the ferry from Port Angeles to Victoria on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, we were again squeezed. This time between bodies of cars.
|Ferry from Port Angeles to Victoria, Vancouver Island, B.C.|
For about two hours we resembled packed sardine cans being shipped to market. We left Seattle before the break of dawn to allow us the most time on Vancouver Island that a family could cram into a day. Most of the time on the ferry was spent sleeping in our van or zig-zagging between cars to avoid an unexpected door opening. On the way back from Victoria, the views of the surrounding islands from the upper deck was spectacular. God’s hand so visible in all of His creation.
After touring the phenomenally colorful Butchart Gardens, we scooted into the city to see the elegant Fairmont Empress Hotel. Once again, the press of humanity cordoned us off from a close-up view while the heat that melted us caused the city’s famous hanging flowers to curl in on themselves. One of the city’s many events had been planned for that day–a classic hot-rod show. Fortunately, the city’s tourist buses were still operational. We took the scenic route around that portion of the island with the breeze of cool air-conditioning mimicking Victoria’s renowned mild climate.
Street life can be pressing, even on a vacation. It reminds us that life itself can press in on us, making us feel insignificant among the throng of people. Lost. Without a breath of fresh air. Stifled. Until we see our way out, our Deliverer who gives us fresh wildly colorful sight and hope to live. And He offers it not just to us but to each person walking in the press of the crowd.
“For he will deliver the needy who cry out, the afflicted who have no one to help.” Psalm 70:12 NIV
What has you pressed in today? From where will your deliverance come?