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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Bridge of Sighs

We have lived in the same place for over eighteen years now, in the town my husband’s family moved to when he was thirteen. Sometimes I wonder when it will stop feeling new--except I hope it never does--primarily as a result of my reaction to one winding stretch of street that cuts along the edge of our little burb.

There, thick trees and rambling stone walls hide mysterious homes somewhere beyond a blockade of green, all of which possess reaching views of the Atlantic. If it weren't for mailboxes at the ends of long driveways though, you'd never know most of them were there. The narrow road greys to twilight under the impenetrable vegetation that protects these secret gems--until you round a curve to an open graphic, where Cunningham Bridge, a 1950’s remnant, crosses a tidal river that spews the ocean into a salt water inlet.

For the three years we dated before we got married, I’d visit my husband here in town, and every time we encountered the area around the bridge I’d marvel: “I can’t believe people live here.” During our first eight years of marriage, when we resided elsewhere, we’d visit on the weekends. By that point, I'd seen it many times, but remained compelled to interrupt conversation with that same phrase when we drove over the bridge, always a little shaken by the unrelenting beauty.

In truth, our town hosts too many stunning views to choose a favorite, but there is something about this particular one that twists my insides and fires up a longing to stop and freeze the video--something about traversing a dim and shadowed road to burst out to drifting aqua on one side and churning blue on the other--two distinct worlds of water divided by an ordinary bridge.

On the sea side, a jagged current sifts between a set of rock-strewn banks, ebbing and flowing on schedule with the blue swells surging beyond the cut. Once the water passes under the bridge though, it stills to a placid glide inside a huge saltwater pond. On calm days, perfect reflections of the granite monoliths that grow up from the middle rest on quiet water. Fish nibble expanding circles, the dark leaves from the surrounding trees stare back at themselves; egrets and moaning seagulls dip down for food.

After crossing this bridge hundreds of times now, I have managed to turn the volume on my awe down some, keeping the comments to myself. Yet, each time the bend in the road before the bridge appears, it’s a surprise, like stumbling on a painting I’ve never seen, a watercolor of wash and drift and grain and flow framed on the edge of the earth. Inevitably, I take a long breath and sigh and shake my head while a refrain forms in my brain; “I can’t believe I live here.”









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14 comments:

Jayne said...

Hello! Your photographs are stunning. I can imagine it must be so lovely feeling joy at the surroundings of your home. I'm not living where I'd like to, but there are still small pleasures to be found - there's a lovely tree that I pass on the way to the train station, and I always admire the shape of it!

Joanne said...

Oh I know the feeling. The beach we vacation at has a salt water marsh feeding off Long Island Sound by a brook flowing into it. The brook changes direction as the tide changes from high to low. But that marsh, with the egrets, kingfishers, heron and always, always one swan family, is a true living watercolor painting. I don't know of anything more serene.

rae said...

Stunning photographs! I'm jealous!

glnroz said...

that is pretty,,,keep writing "pretty" stuff and posting pics. It gives me a jump in the mornings..

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That's a really nice area!

Sharon said...

I love these photos, especially the last one. What a magical place. I'm so happy that you get to live there.

Mitzi said...

You are so blessed to live in such beautiful and peaceful surroundings! Thank you for sharing with all of us!

Helen Ginger said...

A wonderful post. You took me there with your words. The picture are wonderful. You should enlarge them and hang them in your home.

Straight From Hel

Simon C. Larter said...

This, methinks, is why Monet could paint his own backyard over and over and over again. Nature is always renewing itself.

I love that you allow your vision of it to be renewed so often as well.

Robin said...

The first gift was the discovery of the bridge. Now you get the anticipation each time you make the drive. You know that it is coming. What a sweet reward when it comes into view. Eventually, the question becomes which is better: the anticipation or the reward? Who knows? They have become intertwined. As always, a lovely glimpse into your world.

Java said...

Those photographs are just beautiful!

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

"turn the volume of my awe down" What a great line! I know what you mean, though. Once I saw a photo of a villager walking in front of the Himalayas and I wondered if they ever get used to that stunning grandeur. Maybe you can not and that's a good thing.

Carolina Valdez Miller said...

Such pretty views! If I lived there, I would also feel quite fortunate. Yet, I think most fortunate of all is your recognition and acknowledgment of the blessing. So often, we're surrounded by beauty and never think to truly see it.

Katie said...

Absolutely beautiful!