Sunday, December 29, 2013

Crossing Brooklyn Bridge / Ferry with My Daughter

“FLOOD-TIDE below me!  I watch you face to face…”  -Walt Whitman, Crossing Brooklyn Ferry

This one was on the list for a long time.  This morning, Xian and I walked over the Brooklyn Bridge together.
“Crowds of men and women attired in the usual costumes!  How curious you are to me!”  -Walt Whitman, Crossing Brooklyn Ferry

We started at the Statue of Liberty ferry port and strolled through Battery Park and up Wall Street... then up to one of America's greatest landmarks.
“The glories strung like beads on my smallest sights and hearings- on the walk in the street, and the passage over the river; the current rushing so swiftly, and swimming with me far away…”  -Walt Whitman, Crossing Brooklyn Ferry

It's funny, that morning while on the ferry out to the Statue of Liberty, Rebekah overheard an adult woman shriek, "There she is!  The Golden Gate Bridge!"  My middle daughter looked at me and squished up her nose, "Sometimes adults are stupid, huh?"
“The others that are to follow me, the ties between me and them; the certainty of others- the life, love, sight, hearing of others.”  -Walt Whitman, Crossing Brooklyn Ferry

Yes, sometimes they are... but not today.
“Others will enter the gates of the ferry, and cross from shore to shore… Others will see the shipping of Manhattan north and west, and the heights of Brooklyn…”   -Walt Whitman, Crossing Brooklyn Ferry

This history of the bridge is fascinating and well documented, but to summarize, residents used to cross into Manhattan on the Brooklyn Ferry before chief architect John Augustus Roebling put his living room designs to actual work.
“A hundred years hence… others will enjoy the sunset, the pouring in of the flood-tide, the falling back to the sea of the ebb-tide.”   -Walt Whitman, Crossing Brooklyn Ferry

Opening the bridge May 24, 1883.
“I am with you, you men and women of a generation, or ever so many generations hence, I project myself-also I return- I am with you, and know how it is.”   -Walt Whitman, Crossing Brooklyn Ferry

I think about all the people who have crossed this span of iron and wood and mortar... poets and presidents, artists and artisans... in times of peace and quiet like the slow moving current below or in times of attack when it seemed the city was on fire.
“What is the count of the scores of hundreds of years between us?  Whatever it is, it avails not – distance avails not, and place avails not.”   -Walt Whitman, Crossing Brooklyn Ferry

My daughter and I stood there and thought of poets like Whitman... his wispy beard blowing in wind, watching the faces, caring not about the destination but rather who is along for the ride.
“We receive you with free sense at last, and you are insatiate henceforward…”  -Walt Whitman, Crossing Brooklyn Ferry

On the walk back I put hoisted her up on shoulders...
“You furnish your parts toward eternity; great or small, you furnish your parts toward the soul.”   -Walt Whitman, Crossing Brooklyn Ferry

These days, these little moments, mean the world to me.  We did it, because we could!

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