This railroad tressel (funny, MSWord keeps trying to correct that spelling to trestle, and maybe they are right, but I like it this way) is located over the Tombigbee River near Columbus, Mississippi, a town in which I lived off and on for much of my life. From early college days until I was past 40, I climbed and walked on this bridge with all manner of friends and one husband/then ex-husband.
It was a turn bridge at one time with the giant cogs and wheels still underneath. We actually got it to move a couple of inches once, but quickly restored it to the smooth rails that would keep the trains moving safely. We often climbed over the side and onto the huge round concrete pilings that held the bridge in place – sat on the wheels and lost ourselves in the roar of the trains that passed a few feet above our heads. Times now when I still wish I could lose myself in that noise and vibration.
The bridge is gone, making way for the Tenn-Tom Waterway – an enterprise designed to allow barges to haul goods up and down the river from the Gulf of Mexico to Ohio and beyond. All the wonderful old bridges are gone now. I miss them.
Of course, I don’t live there any longer, and my agility in climbing over the side (especially after the dock incident several days ago) is questionable. But, I’d probably try. I’m fresh out of new outlook on life. I’ve used up all the hope I have for right now. I’m ready for an infusion from the future or the past. I want angel wings from either direction. I’ll settle for ghosts or speaking stars.
But, I’m always fascinated at how the rails come together at certain points to allow the train to change tracts. I’m at one of these points when I must not stop and get stuck at the intersection, but I must go on and figure out which road is mine. Unfortunately, that’s not my story to tell right now. The doctors need to finish their story before I can decide which part of this train track is mine – getting well or just going on. How sick am I? How well am I? Which is likely to prevail? How long?
I’m not even looking for control any longer. I just want to quit being stuck on this blasted point, not knowing which way to go. Living it day by day is not my style or ability (at least for longer than 15 minutes).
So, I dwell on the faces that accompanied me as I played on this bridge and in the woods and lake nearby. I see them as they were then – some 20 years ago. I see me as I was then, too. I claim that hope and that joy to keep me going until I can find some more of my own in the here and now. Thanks, friends.
Bridge over the Tombigbee River approx. 1978