Two Sides of a River

The Hudson has been a metaphor in my life for so many things. It has gifted me with endless beauty, and has symbolized the delicate balance between life, death and renewal.

I capture such moments and memories through my photographs, paintings, and writing, and most importantly, my trips across the river have become genetically coded into my cells – each gaze the Catskills becoming a snapshot burned into my mind and sometimes witnessed by the camera, or onto a canvas.

On the days my daughter had chemo, I would go visit her and Alanna, bringing over food, helping out in what ever way I could. My journey took me along the side of the Hudson River from November through April, and I watched the river freeze, heard the ice shift and moan when I would stop and stand to photograph in the late afternoon, river reflecting cool blues and pinks….and then saw the floods of spring rise close to bankful.

My mother lives on the other side of the river….in a nursing home on an estate along the Hudson owned by an order of nuns. It is a place for the living to experience and enjoy, but it is cloaked with a sense of sorrow, illness and death.

Across the river and a bit north hosts Olana, the splendid home and studio of artist Frederick Church, where I married my husband on the autumnal equinox at sunset, with the Hudson gleaming like a heart shaped gem in the evening light.

Dar Williams wrote a lovely song about the Hudson River, Two Sides of the River...

Two sides of a river
The river rushes through
Two sides of a river
One for me and one for you

We can build a bridge or baby
We can jump in
See what the river do
It’s two sides of a river
Great big river rushin’ through

I know the tides of the river
Know how fast and how deep
I know the tides of a river
Hope and pray they don’t shift in your sleep

‘Cause the river bides its lonely loss
It has no vows to keep
I know the tides of a river
Pray, pray they don’t shift in your sleep

I was a bride of the river
Before I ever met you
I was a bride of the river
Where it took me was all that I knew

Now I finally found a love to share my secrets with
Lots of things we can do
I was a bride of the river
That’s where I learned to rock you

Patti --- from the west side of the river.


annie kelleher said…
such a beautiful poem... the hudson is a beautiful river... i spent more time than i ever thought possible crossing it ... back and forth... driving my kids to pennsylvania where their father was....

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