August 1 of 2018 I went walking at Great Falls on the Potomac River. I was on the Maryland side so I got to cross several small bridges on the way to the Great Falls overlook. I was last there fifty years ago more or less, before Hurricane Agnes took out the old bridges on the trail. Those bridges in my memory were made of wooden slats with some kind of wire strung through them, and they were bowed downwards. They swung a bit as small children ran over them. The new ones are solid, unmoving, and arch upwards instead of down. It’s been raining for the past few weeks so the river was full and the water rushed down with patches of deceptively smooth flow and then great thundering white curls and fans where an obstacle hindered the water. The bridges crossed two large sections of the Falls; in between the cataracts the trail was bounded by wooden railings so that the ground remained unspoiled by the many travelers. Those railings are also new to me. At the actual overlook of the main river rapids there is a platform built around old, old rocks with smooth sides and slightly flat tops. A young girl ran up the four foot side of rock and caught herself at the top, edging sideways to sit down and admire the view. And the sight of the sneakers catching on the nearly vertical rock, driving her upwards, woke real memory in my heart. I, too, did that long ago.
A journey, even a pilgrimage, can be repeated.
Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton