Fires & Bridges
"London Bridge is falling down, falling down, falling down, London Bridge is falling down, my fair lady." and "Ring around the rosey a pocket full of posey, ashes, ashes, we all fall down." Those two nursey rhymes are anchored in my memory, sung while running in circles around other children in innocent and silly games of my childhood.
Then the bridge did fall and the ashes have been descending. Falling bridges are no longer the things of playful song, but now of wailing lament. My familiar bridge I used every time I headed into the city for 13 years was always fun to cross: to see the level of the river below and the spray from the St. Anthony spillway. It was a glimpse down the alley-way into the heart of the city. Beautiful in all seasons. Sometimes hazzardous in the winter, known for stacking up vehicles with its black ice or clogging hurrying commuters with lane closings. But fall? Never. Bridges just don't fall, not in my experience, not in my lifetime....until now. Stable things I take for granted aren't that stable.
The ashes have fallen all day and all night for two days from fires 50 miles away in the Zaca range of mountains. Fire crews try to contain the fires, but can't put them out. Maybe September 1st, the latest forecasts say. Until then, ashes fall like snow, swirling as the first car drives through the parking lot, like the first dusting of snow. They are intriguing but not good. They get under doors and cling to shoes. Thsoe with respiratory problems must be distressed. When the ashes fill the sky, it's not like a camp fire you can dogde by getting out of the way. "Ashes, ashes, we all fall down."
These two images from childhood now have become sounds and images of mortality and the fragility of all things human. dona nobis pacem!