Written by Lawrence Harris, Sunday Walk with Me Leader
As part of the River Alive Learning Trail, a group of TTF Tacony Creek Park families visited the Independence Seaport Museum and were then joined by an even bigger group of TTF fans from across the watershed, to sail on the tall ship A.J. Meerwald on Sunday, July 23. Fifty landlubbers enjoyed an exhilarating educational sail together on the Delaware River! Lawrence, Sunday Walk Leader, shares this special experience below.
Certain things in life can’t be fully explained with words, the experience is just too good to be described, it can only be experienced. The Independence Seaport Museum trip was one of those things, but I will do my best to share with you the warm, refreshing Sunday afternoon spent on the tall ship, the A.J. Meerwald, looking at oil paintings untouched by over a hundred years of age and the experience the trip provided to me and several others from small children to adults. I can tell you how much fun fishing off a ship is and the powerful feeling of the rope in my hands as it took several people to pull in the net only to be surprised with two small fish, hogchokers to be specific. Or I can tell you about the teamwork and power it took to raise the sail — but it’s always better in person.
Arriving by bus, we spent a few hours at the Independence Seaport Museum, although the intricate oil paintings from the 1800s, seemingly untouched by time, and hand-carved wooden models perfect to the smallest detail were eye-catching. I’m sure if you asked anyone there what the best part was, our answer would all be the same: the sail. Maybe for some, it was the gentle rocking back and forth as the wind blew us, and for others, it was the strength it took to raise the sail, or it was just having a moment of fresh air in the chaos of the day-to-day routine. You’d be surprised how much a breath of fresh air can improve someone’s mood and how new experiences can grow a child’s horizons. As I lay with my back against the smooth white painted wood, my eyes closed, enjoying the feeling of being a baby rocking back and forth in your mother’s arms. I could hear children happy and filled with joy at the small fish we caught and to have tried something new. Many adults don’t try new things, either, but looking around, we saw youth and high pitch voices as well as gray hair experiencing things none of us had before.
Not only as a staff member of TTF, but as someone who is outside for most of the day for one reason or another and very outside the box, I can’t express how important it is that everyone regardless of age gets out and tries something new. Thanks to that trip, it’s possible someday one of those kids will become a fisherman or captain of a ship in the Navy. Thanks to that trip, the adult members of the group will have a very interesting story to share with their children and grandchildren. I certainly will remember that day for a long time to come.
But as I said, the full experience is something you have to be there to truly understand. Maybe I’ll see you at the next event, we’d love to have you.