HUDSON RIVER SOJOURN - Gender, Dutch influence, Nyack

August 8, 2019

I don’t hear people refer to the Hudson River as he or she. They often refer to vessels as she. We’re aboard Nellie Peach.  Two grandmothers, two granddaughters.

Then there’s Mother Earth. Seems natural.  This big, beautiful planet - like a round womb floating in the endless universe - gives birth endlessly.  Billions of people over and over again and countless other creations. Mother Earth is a great big birthing machine.  But does that make her a she?  Why not a he or a shim or a yo?

Jimmy Buffet refers to the sea as mother, mother ocean.  A heaving poem of amniotic fluid?  And just because the ocean is referred to as mother, does that make it a female?

Does gender really matter?  “Honesty, such a lonely word, everyone is so untrue . . . “ Billy Joel

We were talking to Pat as we were making our way up the Jersey coast.  He grew up in Paterson, New Jersey.

“Hey Pat, where did you go to the beach when you were growing up.”

“Fire Island.”

“Fire Island?”

“That’s right - Fire Island.” 

Fire Island has long been notorious as an arts and gay enclave fronting Long Island Sound.

Becky chimed in.

“Is there something about you that we didn’t know Pat?”


“It was definitely a wild place, but a lot of fun.  But about me?” said Pat.  “I hear they’ve now come up with 54 different genders.  I think I’m at least four of them.”

My friend Steve just shakes his head when the discussion arises.  “You know they have that question on some of the forms that asks for your gender? I’m so confused now that I’ve started putting down ham sandwich instead of male or female.”

Fredman says “embrace the dissonance.”

As I get older, I have a hard time remembering people’s names and even remembering whether I know someone I’m talking to at all.  So I’ve adopted the philosophy that I know everyone; everyone is my friend.  “I am you and you are me and we are we and we are all together.  I am the egg man, I am the egg man, I am the walrus.”  Lennon and McCartney

He, her, mother, father, female, male - it really doesn’t matter.  Best to love everyone regardless.  Easy peasy, lemon squeezy. Spread a little love around.