Saturday, August 04, 2007

The Bridge

Have you heard the word "bridge" enough times in the last few days? The Minneapolis bridge collapse is so incredibly tragic and scary.

I went to college in Minneapolis and probably crossed that bridge hundreds of times. I also had two different apartments during those four years right next to the so-called "Dinkeytown" - which is basically the U Dist area at the University of Minnesota. It was only blocks away with full view of the bridge. I remember looking out my dorm room windows the first year which overlooked that bridge too. I loved to watch the lights of the cars endlessly streaming past and wonder where everyone was going. Or watch the lights twinkle and wink on just as dusk set, marking the end of another day. Of course it was all a million years ago. (Aside to internet hacker stalkers: you'll have to find out more info on your own this time, especially if you're still trying to use my credit card to wire cash to some Palestinian terrorist group like last time.) *shakes fist at the hackers*

Ahem. Well, as I was saying . . . it was so darn long ago, and kind of hard to remember clearly now. But it's still shocking and horrifying. We all travel so many bridges on a daily basis.

Whenever I'm travelling home from somewhere, it's always that big rise of the ship canal bridge on I5 south that makes me smile. You just come up over the top and see the entire downtown, shimmering silvers, golds, blues, oranges - whatever sunset colors are in the sky that night. The space needle stands like a beacon in the clouds. The mountain ranges on both sides dark and majestic, and the eleventy million little boats bobbing in the marinas, sailboats gliding across Lake Union. That scene, for me, is home. The view I've loved best since I first arrived here 17 years ago. And it also means I have just 5 minutes left until I'm pulling up in front of my own house. It always makes me pause, breathe deep and feel grateful for living here in this awesomely beautiful place.

But yesterday, at the exact same moment, I also thought "!bridge!!!!". What if something like that happened right here? And snapped this photo as I was driving in the midst of it all. Which is probably a dumb maneuver since the traffic is always intense there. But here's Seattle, on the way in. And I noticed a car full of folks next to me doing the same thing - sticking their little camera against the window and trying to capture that single moment of wide eyes, sharp intake of breath, and little flutter of wonder that happens each and every time as you try to take in the grandness of the beauty.