Posts Tagged ‘Bridges


Troubled Waters

City of Lakes. I was treated to
this every day for six years.

[Greater Minneapolis Convention and Visitors Association]

Jeff woke me up this morning by telling me that there are still cars in the Mississippi River with bodies inside. It’s so, so sad, what happened yesterday.

The video I’ve seen on TV makes the whole scene look relatively small, I think. That bridge was just a freeway overpass across the river, but it was huge. A crack in the bridge would cause chaos, let alone the whole thing tumbling into the river.

It’s cliché, but I can’t help but think that I drove across that bridge almost daily for more than six years. It’s freaking I-35, after all.

What I remember most, and most endearingly, was the spectacular view of the Minneapolis skyline available crossing southbound on that bridge. In all the years that I saw it, speeding across the Mississippi, I never took it for granted. The sight of it at night, as the creamsicle sun was setting and the lights were beginning to show against the shadows of the city, made me proud to live in such a beautiful place. On winter mornings, with intensely clear skies and air cold enough to suck the breath out of your lungs, clouds of steam not normally visible rose from buildings downtown, and I was happy to belong to a city, my city, that had been radiating defiance against the cold for more than 150 years.

I still don’t know for sure that no one I know was hurt or killed yesterday. My fingers remain crossed. My heart and sympathies go out to the folks who will never see that skyline again — and to their families, for whom that view will surely be heavy with memories and meaning.


Left on the Tracks

I often wonder about the stuff that gets lost on the subway tracks. Not the bottles and bags and wrappers — who cares? But a child’s shoe? A stuffed animal holding a heart that says “I Love You”? A wrapped bouquet of flowers? These things meant something to someone at one time. Maybe they meant the wrong thing. (I’d like to see how the flowers ended up down there.) But they meant something.

It’s kind of crazy, the things we place emotional value on. When I was a little kid, I had a wooden toy dog on wheels. The axles were bent, on purpose, I think, to make the dog wobble as you pulled him along on his red string. His little plastic ears hung down on swivels and swung forward and back as he hobbled along.

I used to have recurring nightmares of dropping that dog into Lake Michigan (technically, the Straits of Mackinac) while crossing the Mackinac Bridge on foot. I’d dangle it over the edge and watch it swing. You know that way kids take risks with their toys — or their lives — dangling things in dangerous places. Some of us as adults continue to do this.

I’ve never been on that bridge on foot, and I don’t know if it’s even possible to dangle anything over the edge. (Though I’ve been on it plenty of times in a car, and I do know it’s possible to get knocked off that bridge without dangling anything.) Nonetheless, it was horrifying for me to consider.

the untallied hours