The Big Sea: An Autobiography by Langston Hughes:
The first day out of New York harbor, the sailors began to clean up the ship. All the filth and garbage that had accumulated in the harbor was dumped into the ocean, and the limpid blue-green of the sea received the garbage and swill, and didn’t seem to be dirtied at all. That is one of the many wonders of the sea—that the garbage and bilge water of ten thousand ships is dumped into it every day, and the sea is never dirty.
Soon our ship became bright and shining, the brass all polished, the decks chipped, and the bulkheads painted. And the crew became rested and clean, sleep all caught up after nights ashore in New York. The sun was very bright, a brisk breeze was blowing, the spray salt and cool, the waves foany-white, and the air like a tonic in the lungs. And nobody was afraid of being hungry or homeless or out of work or not needed in the scheme of things for six months as we headed toward Africa.
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