Corey Kilgannon / NY Times ๐Ÿ”’ ยป

Mr. Moore began in the Columbia River in Oregon, crossed several northern states and traveled down to the Gulf Coast by last winter. By early 2021, he was headed back up to the Great Lakes and to New York State, where he followed the Erie Canal to the Hudson River and ultimately to the Statue of Liberty.

โ€œI wanted to see the country up close and personal at this interesting time, with the pandemic and all the political strife, to find out what it actually means to be American today,โ€ Mr. Moore said.

โ€œI felt like I followed that light shining all the way across the country,โ€ he said later. โ€œMy journey was one of illumination. So to finally see that beacon up close, that flame of liberty, after seeing it in so many people I met across this land, it was overwhelming.โ€

Traveling by river became metaphoric: Just as rivers connect towns and cities, Mr. Moore said, he began exploring connections between people often separated by race, class and political stripe.