Snowfall by the River

East River in snow

By Johna Till Johnson

I’ve always loved the East River.

She’s not really a river at all, but rather a connector between Long Island Sound and New York Harbor.  That topography accounts for her rapid currents, which are slightly out of sync with those of the Hudson (a tidal estuary). And it also accounts for much of her charm. To me, the East River has always been beautiful, mysterious, and slightly dangerous, with an allure that’s impossible to resist.

Before I learned to kayak, I’d walk along the river and think, “Wouldn’t it be lovely to go into the water?” Crazy thought! In addition to the swift currents, the East River was known in decades past for pollution and the occasional dead body. (These days, the water is much cleaner. There are even dolphins!)

After I took up paddling, I ended up actually in the East River more than once, usually by design (practicing capsizing in current) but one memorable time entirely by accident. And I’ve paddled its length many more times than that—my best count is that I’ve circumnavigated Manhattan around 40 times, and I’ve paddled out to Long Island Sound a handful of times as well.

But as is the case with most true loves, knowing the East River better only increases her allure.

It was natural, then, when a blizzard rolled in, for me to make time to go down to the East River and see what she looked like in snow.  I’m biased, but isn’t she gorgeous?

17 responses to “Snowfall by the River

  1. It is very pretty, but your photograph is gorgeous, Johna.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Johna Till Johnson

      Thank you! I do feel like I’m getting there, a bit. It’s interesting to see how the skills built over a lifetime can transfer.

      With writing, I learned through decades of hard work to ruthlessly discard the bad stuff. And that most of it IS “bad stuff”–but that’s ok, write first, discard later. The more you do it, the better you get.

      Apparently the same applies to photography. If you see something that attracts your eye, take the picture… it might work, but probably won’t. And that’s ok. Take enough pictures, some will work. And as you see what doesn’t work, and why, you take better pictures later.

      Obviously the trick lies in knowing the good stuff from the bad stuff. At first you mechanically follow the rules.

      Over time, you train yourself to recognize that quick pulse of “Aha! That’s GOOD!”

      My biggest accolade was from my 91-year old mother, who is an artist. I started showing her my photographs around midsummer. Last month, she commented, “Your eye is improving a lot.” Until then, I really hadn’t seen it–but I went back and looked at the summer’s photos, and saw what she meant…

      Liked by 3 people

      • I think you are doing great. I take so many photos–of the same thing because darn it! one of them is bound to turn out OK. Oh, the heck with the rules, Johna. Take what you like–that’s where the fun is. But this one is a beauty .

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Beautiful, beautiful capture.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. That is a stunning photo!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. She is beautiful, Johan, and your photo is lovely.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. You’re right, it is a beauty. The river, and the photograph. You have a good eye.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. My friend was in psychiatric care after a suicide attempt. Her view was the East River. She fell in love with it and watched it for hours, sitting so the movement of the water was always just over the edge of the pages as she read book after book. She even sat so she could see the water over the shoulder of her therapist. Once she realized to her surprise that it reversed direction, it helped her pass time and measure it in an informal way. But the staff and such thought she was a bit off to say it switched directions. She joked that she worried she’d have to agree that it flowed one way just to get out!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Johna Till Johnson

      I meant to reply to this earlier, Erik. I am so sorry for your friend–I do hope she’s better now.

      And HILARIOUS that the staff thought she was nuts for noticing the current switches!


  7. I love the “timelessness “ of this picture, and it’s lovely view . So glad I had time to enjoy your post. And I agree with your mother 👏.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Johna Till Johnson

      Thank you and thank you!

      As for timeless…Lamp posts in winter always make me think of the Chronicles of Narnia. Remember the opening scene in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe? Snow in the woods, and a lamp post, and a faun carrying a package?


  8. Fabulous photo, Johna.

    Liked by 1 person

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