The effects of time on an abandoned bridge.

All the colors of a rather large rusty bolt, sinking down into the ancient iron plate… flaking as if laminated…
The bloody reds and browns and blackish grease, and grime collected in that corner… I think where water pools…
And the remains of some faded paint… gray? Thoughts wander…
Or was this white at some time… now streaked with reddish lines and black specks?

Of an ancient road, too narrow for today’s cars… and grass growing where the asphalt once was…
And half-hearted graffiti… with no theme or artistic intention…
Of concrete abutments and this formerly painted ironwork… angle iron triangles and triangles… plates and struts and bolts and rivets…
And holes where solid metal once was. And I am thinking.. of structure and materials and substance…
Gravity and engineering and the effects of time and neglect on an abandoned bridge.

The air sings with the sounds of dozens of insects
And a hundred feet below flows the creek barely flows
And it is hot today… too hot to touch the metal railings.
And as I walk toward the edge I kick some gravel over that edge and it falls
Swirling dust toward the water below…

All around me are those yellow flowers… black-eyed susans and scottish broom and mustard flowers
And like birthday candles in the mix of brown grasses and chaparral… are the century plants.
And my eye follows the ridgeline up through the manzanita and white thorn… and all that dry scratchy brush
to where the trees begin… crossing the highway a few times as it disappears behind that turn, and again higher up.
And above me is this perfectly blue sky.
From hear the traffic sounds like a heavy sigh… Like the mountain breathing out.

I look for a rock to drop over the side… but the deck has been swept clean by time…
And I think of dropping over that edge and falling that distance to the creek bed…
Thinking of slow decay… of timeless rust and wind
Of rain and flaking paint… and of the rain that comes in a different season…

And along with the mountain, I sigh.
I miss my son, even in this.


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