Friday, August 03, 2007

too close to home

Bridges should not fall.


It's been an oddly disjointed week here.

I've been 2 kids short since Sunday as the big ones were with my in-laws until yesterday afternoon...when I journeyed into Wisconsin nervously counting bridges all the way to retrieve them.

So it was a very quiet week until the phones started ringing off the hook Wednesday night.

"Are you all home?"

I purged the basement to stock my friend Ellen's garage sale that will hopefully fund her MS Walk. 9 bags/boxes of toys and 11 of baby clothes, an exersaucer, baby bath, bouncy seat and doorway jumper have now left the building. We sorted through all the kid clothes riveted to CNN.

"Yeah, we're all here safe."

It's been odd seeing our little town all over the media. It's equally been surreal having them here, standing in front of places I've casually passed by my entire life. It's even more disturbing to have a gaping hole, emotionally and physically looming so few miles from our home.

I grew up in the northern suburbs of Minneapolis/Saint Paul. I've driven over that bridge without noticing more times that I can imagine to count. It's less than a half mile from my children's preschool. It's right on top of my husband's latest project. He drove under it on his way home from work every day for the last year or so.

He drove under it 20 minutes before it fell. Heading home early that day. Holding the baby instead.
That's the view from the apartments his development company owns across from the condos he's building. The news crews broadcast from just off the right side of the screen.

If you live in either city here, your days are spent crossing bridges. There are the usual highway overpasses and such, but 3 major rivers traverse the area. There are BIG bridges everywhere.

I've never thought much about them...until now.

Now I think about them way, way too much.

The bridges and the people.

The people that miraculously got away.

The school bus.

The people that ran to help without thinking.

The rescue and retrieval teams still trying.

The families still waiting.

They haunt me.

The people still in the river haunt me.

Seeing the anguish of the rescue workers able to see their faces below the surface but not able to reach them. Having to leave them there, in the river.

The river that's only a few blocks from our home. The river we walk along, watching eagles. Looking for tugs pushing barges. Cheering crew teams gliding along. So much beauty cutting through such an urban 'scape.

I can feel it pulling me.

(heavy sorrow)

But I can't go.

I just can't.

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