Saturday, August 04, 2007

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!


At 10:10 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beautifully written.

We are also linked to the bridge and the Zacca Fire. As Iowa residents, that I-35W bridge seems like our backyard. And we have family in Santa Barbara and keep an anxious watch on that fire.

You might be interested in my "bridge" post on www.greengranny.org

Keep writing!

GreenGranny joyce@greengranny.org

At 12:59 AM , Blogger Isaac Johnson said...

I read your post GreenGranny. Can't say I agree. imho, it's a bridge. it fell. fix it. I don't care if they use toxic plastic melted by burning tires - as long as that small section of hiway is replaced. I agree that using rail to minimize bridge usage is a good idea but that bridge design was one of a kind - mostly because it was a bad design.

Just up the river is the worst shortest suspension bridge that carries traffic over Hennapin Ave. Not only is it gorgeous, but its sturdy and incorporates rundancies. I hope, both for function and asthetics, they mirror that design. My fear is some Museum of Modern Art monstrocity. Another bridge I like a lot is the Hiawatha one that goes over Lake and Cedar with the old style gas lamps (they're obviously not gas, but are in that style) and tall concrete gothic supports.


Te audire no possum. Musa sapientum fixa est in aure

At 1:00 AM , Blogger Isaac Johnson said...


Just up the river is the worlds shortest....

i shouldnt be writing things at 3am


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