Day 706: Ships Passing

“Ships passing in the night” means (according to

Often said of people who meet for a brief but intense moment and then part, never to see each other again. These people are like two ships that greet each other with flashing lights and then sail off into the night. From a poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

Individuals who are rarely in the same place at the same time. For example, Jan works the early shift and Paula the late shift—they’re two ships that pass in the night. This metaphoric expression comes from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem “The Theologian’s Tale” (published in Tales of a Wayside Inn, 1873).

Those definitions are like two ships passing each other in this post.

Now, I shall pass on to you two thoughts passing like ships in my bloggy mind (as the moon and sun sail by each other in their passage into day):

  • I’ve used that term “like ships passing in the night” when I’ve passed by people I seldom see.
  • Yesterday, in New York City, I passed by many ships, people, and other vessels and vehicles, including these:


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That guy (labeled “photogenic” in those photos) is Michael, whom Deb and I passed like ships on our way to a boat tour to the Statue of Liberty. As we passed a few moments with Michael, we discovered he has lived in NYC all his life and is thinking of passing on to another location, in order to pursue his non-passing dream of being a web designer.

Deb and I passed on the offer to pose for a passing photograph (for that is Michael’s passing profession), but Michael, Deb, and I all seemed glad to pass each other, ever so briefly.

I had many passing wishes to photograph other images passing by me, while Deb and I waited to board the passing fair ship. I will pass on to you a small percentage of them.

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When Deb (passing by your eyes, above, in the orange parka) noticed one person taking a photo of another one, she quickly passed by to take a picture of the two of them together.


That’s Deb, as we passed the time liking each other’s passing posts on Facebook.

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Then the ship sailed up to us and docked, and many people passed by as they disembarked:

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If you look closely at those people passing off the ship, you’ll see that some of them are wearing Statue of Liberty hats. Deb expressed a wish to get one of those, but they passed by her like green plastic ships, in the gray, rainy day.



Deb also expressed a wish to pass up to the top portion of the sightseeing ship. As you can see, nobody else passed up there, with us.




We eventually passed on the rain, and passed down to the covered floors, below.


Deb is talking to somebody we had passed earlier, when Deb had briefly passed into speaking Mandarin, to help him understand when and where to board this ship.

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That was my first glimpse of Lady Liberty, as we (and other ships) passed towards her.

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And then we passed by a place where many souls had passed, on September 11, 2001.

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As we passed by the new World Trade Center, I  told Deb that a month after 9/11/01, my then three-year-old son, my ex-husband, and I had passed by here, and I saw the smoke still rising into the sky.

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That’s Ellis Island, where many people from different lands passed through, many years ago, to a new home in the United States.

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After we passed by all these things like ships passing in the night,  Deb and I got ready to see Sting‘s new musical “The Last Ship” on Broadway. I put on my brand-new, WATERPROOF boots:

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and Deb and I passed by these, on our way to the play:

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One final shot, before this post passes into the blogosphere (and passes by you, like a ship in the night):


That last photo shows part of the amazing set for “The Last Ship,” a wonderful work of soul and art I was so happy to pass by, last night.

Passing by you, now, is music I must pass on to complete this post:

(Sting performing “When the Last Ship Sails” from “The Last Ship,” live on Charlie Rose, passes here on YouTube.)

Thanks to Deb, Joseph Mitchell, Michael, Sting and to all who passed by me yesterday (in the day and night) and (of course!) to you and  all who pass (and connect) through this blog.*

* What do you think? Are we like ships passing through the night?

Categories: definition, inspiration, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , | 29 Comments

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29 thoughts on “Day 706: Ships Passing

  1. I thoroughly enjoyed this presentation. Thank you.

  2. I adore your boots! Glad you didn’t pass them by.
    I have been to NYC a few times but have never seen the Lady. One day I will sail out to meet her and greet her as she has greeted so many,

    • Thanks for that passing compliment for my boots, Emilie! I have passed through NYC dozens of times but yesterday was my first time passing by Lady Liberty.

  3. Beautiful post, Ann. Manhattan by water is breath-taking! We’ve passed under those bridges on a big ship heading to Bermuda. I love the sights. Lady Liberty always welcomes all. She may have warmed you even on a day such as yesterday, seeing as it was your first visit.

    What a recollection from your past vision of souls rising from the towers. Sad still to me.

    I hope nothing could take the Sting out of seeing that production for you. Great set it looks like.

    Of course we are not ships passing after all this time. Never.

  4. Yes Ann, some of us are like ships in the night, others are like tow boats helping us get where we need to go. Lovely post. One day I hope to see Lady Liberty too. 😀
    Diana xo

  5. Grey can be beautiful, like that empty top deck.

  6. Love this post of ships passing int the night … its so wonderful that you capture those moments!

  7. A beautiful, moving post, Ann, and some beautiful, moving memories for you and your friend, Deb. And, thank you for sharing the view of the new World Trade Centre. I have not been to NYC since its construction.

    (And I will think about going to the fishmarket when I am looking for peace of mind, comfort, etc. I have to admit that the smell of fish (or fish guts) has never called to me at 5:30 AM, but I will try to sniff through the more poetic nose of Joseph Mitchell.)

  8. And an upbeat one: New York Medley, with Liza Minelli, Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr.

  9. My husband and I usually go to Manhattan this weekend every year, but this year he couldn’t take off work on Friday like usual. Thank you for giving me a little trip there via your blog. My hubby grew up right outside of Manhattan and neither of us has visited Lady Liberty. Maybe next time! It looks like you had a nice time!

  10. Beautiful, heart warming post, Ann. LOVE your boots and when I looked at the pic where the towers stood, my stomach dipped perilously close to the floor and tears sprang to my eyes. I will not be a ship passing in the night though many in my Life seem to be just that. As I fly they dive. Or so it seems. I really enjoyed reading this!!! (((HUGS))) Amy

  11. Yes, and we are gifted by one another through our connections. 🙂

    Your photos are stunning! I kept saying, “Wow! WowZaa.” I have so many favorites, so I’m just going to keep passing by them every now and again.

    I definitely passed by, and thru, many memories. From the pain relating to 9/11, to the joy of knowing my ancestors arrived from France and passed into, and out of Ellis Island; the passing into the memory of being aboard the USS Forrestal aircraft carrier when my brother passed into his Naval retirement.

    It is wonderful to enjoy a joyful passing. All too often when we think of a passing we don’t take time to enjoy the bittersweet. We look at the recall of memory with sadness because it is no longer something we can reach out and touch in the here and now.

    You’ve allowed me to enjoy things gone that will never be forgotten. If only we could remember when dark times pass us, and bright times are recalled, that we’re only human, and when all is said and done, it was the journey that made us great.

    • I feel better, wiser, and brighter, after passing through every word of this comment. Many thanks for this beautiful voyage.

      • We are ships that are passing, enjoying the scenery, the dialog and our connection. 🙂 You are sunshine, lighting the world around each of your readers. 😎

  12. I believe that’s true, Ann.
    However,as a teacher, the nights last a year or more. Yet, students keep moving on into a night from which you often see them no more. What are left are the influences each has on the other. Those temporary encounters often have a, hopefully, positive lasting effect.

    Furthermore, I think that two ships passing in the night is far more welcomed that two ships crashing head-on in the night, or anytime for that matter.

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