125 Brooklyn Bridge
Two weekends ago, I went to Brooklyn...
'The Brooklyn Bridge is 125 years old. Today's its birthday weekend,' says my spouse. 'Want to go walk over it?'
This is my writing day. I think of all the words I won't put to paper, well, to keyboard. Still. I've never gone to the birthday of a 125-year-old. We'll do it, then, yes. Words will come another day.
We drive past the East River, watch as buildings, clouds go by and tunnels eclipse the sky. Park and walk. Over the Brooklyn Bridge. Bridge that grew from the imagination and ingenuity of a farmer. Bridge that took lives in dark slimy hellish underground work, where air was smoky with candlelight and rank with the smell of long-buried garbage. Bridge that grew strong while men grew weak from disease misunderstood (who knew that people had to adjust to different air pressure upon ascension?). Bridge whose master engineer lost sanity when he made the painful decision to stop digging before hitting bedrock (too many lives were being lost... and the ground was packed tight, so hard to dig). Bridge given over to the wife of the engineer, to manage the project and shock those who perhaps thought a woman was not fit to oversee such as this.
Bridge of songs, of imagination, of stories. Bridge under my feet and over the river. One hundred and twenty-five years old and still standing. Beyond the worries that plagued its makers. Past the celebrations that heralded its opening. Here, in my now, under my feet and my children's feet and who knows how many children's feet to come. Brooklyn bridge.
LL's feet on the Brooklyn Bridge.
LL reading Walt Whitman's "Crossing Brooklyn Ferry" from a 1940's poetry book, to children who are dreaming of ice cream and wondering if they can walk down near the river. (For a truly beautiful reading, check out Mark Goodyear's Happy 125 Years Brooklyn Bridge: this poem's for you.)
Bridge, feet, and book photos by L.L. Barkat.