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bridge memorial 2012-07-28 22.21.48

I-35 Bridge Memorial – 36/365, Archive 365, Droid Shots, 35W Bridge Remembrance Garden, Minnesota, July 2012, photo © 2012 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.


I passed by the 35W Bridge Remembrance Garden three times over the last few weeks. Wednesday, August 1st, 2012 marked five years to the day since the I-35 bridge collapsed. The third time I drove by, I was traveling home from the Guthrie with Liz and her mother who was visiting from Wyoming.

Ironically, on August 1st, 2007, Liz’s mother was in the air on her way to Minneapolis when the bridge collapsed. Liz and I were folding laundry and doing last minute preparations for her visit, when we received a phone call from my mother in Pennsylvania asking if we were okay. Confused, we quickly turned on the TV to see that one of the busiest bridges in the Twin Cities had fallen into the Mississippi and was a twisted mass of concrete and steel.

Thirteen people died that day; 145 were injured. They had been going about their lives in what was until that moment, an ordinary day; it could have been any one of us. The Memorial to the victims and survivors of the 35W bridge collapse sits on the west bank of the Mississippi River in downtown Minneapolis, next to Gold Medal Park. There was a dedication and opening ceremony for the 35W Memorial, August 1st, 2011. It is a quiet place where water falls over a granite wall inscribed with the names of the 145 survivors, and the words:

Our lives are not only defined by what happens, but by how we act in the face of it, not only by what life brings us, but by what we bring to life. Selfless actions and compassion create enduring community out of tragic events.

Last week, I listened to survivor Lindsay Walz tell her story from the perspective and wisdom of the passing of time (you can read her story at this link). On August 1st, she painted details on the back brace she wore for injuries sustained when the bridge collapsed. In addition to a broken back, she suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder. She states that everyone’s recovery is as unique as their experience on the bridge that day. Some people are still dealing with ongoing crippling pain and can’t work. They can’t do things they used to take for granted. The survivors stay connected through a Facebook page; they are still there for each other.

The night I passed by Bohemian Flats, under the new I-35 bridge, and around the bend to the Memorial, I saw 13 steel girders lit in neon blue, one for each person who lost their lives. I felt compelled to slow down from all the busyness of summer, and remember their names. (To learn more about their lives, there are biographies at the links.)


________________________________

Sherry Engebretsen
Sherry Engebretsen knew how to take care of details, especially when it came to her daughters.

 

Artemio Trinidad-Mena
Originally from Mexico, Artemio lived in Minnesota for about 10 years, and worked at New York Plaza Produce in south Minneapolis for almost a year.

 

Julia Blackhawk
Julia Blackhawk had recently taken a new Indian name. The 32-year-old from Savage was given the name Thunder Woman during a pow-wow at Easter. Her uncle, John Blackhawk, is a Winnebago Tribal Council member. He says Julia was a kind person who always showed respect for her elders. And he says she had one attribute that was very special.

 

Patrick Holmes
Patrick Holmes, 36, of Mounds View, was found dead at the scene of the bridge collapse that same night. He was on his way home from work. His wife, Jennifer, heard the news a little after midnight.

 

Peter Hausmann
Peter Hausmann, 47, was a computer security specialist worked at Assurity River Group in St. Paul. The company’s president says Hausmann was a quiet leader and a man of faith.

 

Paul Eickstadt
Paul Eickstadt drove a delivery truck for Sara Lee Bakery for 14 years. He was just beginning his shift, on his way to Iowa, when the 35W bridge collapsed. Eickstadt, 51, lived in Mounds View. He is survived by a brother and two sisters.

 

Greg Jolstad
Greg Jolstad’s friends called him Jolly “because of his name, and because that’s just how he was.” Bill Stahlke remembers ice fishing almost daily, as teenagers, with Jolstad and Jim Hallin on Knife Lake, near the Jolstad family farm. The three haven’t missed a winter on the lake in the nearly 30 years since they graduated together from Mora High School.

 

Scott Sathers
On Aug. 1, Scott Sathers left his job in downtown Minneapolis at Capella University, where he worked as an enrollment director, approximately 40 minutes later than usual. Sathers called his wife Betsy at 5:50 p.m. from Washington Ave. and 35W, where he was about to get on 35W to go north to his home in Blaine.

 

Christina Sacorafas
Christina Sacorafas was running late, and called her friend and fellow dance instructor, Rena Tsengas, to say she would be late. But Sacorafas never made it the Minneapolis church where students in her Greek folk dancing group were waiting for her to begin class.

 

Sadiya and Hanah Sahal
For Ahmed Iidle, the I-35W bridge collapse has brought a double loss. His daughter Sadiya Sahal, 23, and her 2-year-old daughter Hanah were headed to a relative’s house when the bridge crumbled beneath them.

 

Vera Peck and Richard Chit
Vera Peck and her 20-year-old son Richard Chit were traveling in the same car when the bridge collapsed.

 

________________________________
Related to posts: 40 Days, 8 Flags, and 1 Mennonite Choir, Memorial — Day & Night, Bridge To Nowhere — The Great ConnectorFear Of Bridges, Thornton Wilder & Bridges, Minneapolis At Night, The Name Game (What’s In A Name?)

Resources: Hundreds turn out to dedication of 35W Bridge Memorial, New 35W bridge memorial honors those who died — and the community that disaster brought together, Remembering the Dead, Bridge survivor on 5th anniversary: ‘The day I got to live’

-posted on red Ravine, Sunday, August 5th, 2012

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BRIDGE 4 2011-06-24 22.04.36

Under The Rainbow – 24/52, BlackBerry 52 — Week 24, Minneapolis,
Minnesota, June 24th 2011, photo © 2011 by QuoinMonkey. All rights
reserved. Medium: Droid snapshot of the new I-35 Bridge on Pride
weekend, June 2011 in response to Lotus Jump-Off – The Biggest Heart.








Compassion —
learning to accept
what we don’t understand;
a city with a big heart
knows how to hold its differences.








BRIDGE 5 2011-06-24 22.03.04 -posted on red Ravine, Sunday, June 26th, 2011

Lotus and I will continue to respond to each other’s BlackBerry Jump-Off photos with text, photography, poetry (however we are inspired) for the 52 weeks of 2011. You can read more at BlackBerry 52 Collaboration. If you are inspired to join us, send us a link to your images, poetry, or prose and we’ll add them to our posts.

I-35 Bridge In Rainbow Colors For Pride! #pride - 24/52 -related to posts:  haiku 4 (one-a-day) Meets renga 52, Berth Of The Night Owl haiku, Marriage Equality In Maine & The Catholic Church

-related links: I-35W Bridge To Glow In Rainbow Colors For Pride Festival, NY Becomes 6th State to Legalize Gay Marriage, NY Birthplace of Gay Rights Movement Fetes New Law, Pride Parade Celebrates Passage Of Gay Marriage

Photos: Bridge Light, I-35 Bridge In Rainbow Colors For Pride – 24/52, BlackBerry 52 — Week 24, Minneapolis, Minnesota, June 24th 2011, photo © 2011 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved. Medium: Droid snapshots of the new I-35 Bridge on Pride weekend, June 2011 in response to Lotus Jump-Off – The Biggest Heart.

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by Teresa Williams



Devil's Bridge II

Joseph Mallord William Turner from St. Gotthard & Mont Blanc
Sketchbook [Finberg LXXV], The Devil’s Bridge, near Andermatt,
Pass of St. Gotthard, Switzerland, 1802.






*The Devil’s Bridge


Blue twilight
of ash
washing
the weathered mountains,
a single goat-bell
clangs
disrupting
the high silence.
The traveller stops
in the middle
of the narrow stone bridge,
her listening is
lonely.


Beneath
the bridge,
dark water
rushes and falls;
tangled serpents
pushing
the frenzied depths
of time’s black core
down
the ravine’s
bottomless hollow;
a night heron
swoops over
the churning,
red eye widening
seeing through
to the place
where the snakes
lie still.


A sudden wind
blows
from the nostrils
of the mountain,
as if
to extinguish
all hesitation,
dark rocks
crumble down
filling the air
with a scoured-out echo
that waits
for what must cross.



The traveller steps forward
calls out,
no response
no sign
for what it is
she wants to know;
who made the bridge
and is she
the first to cross it?


The twilight
deepens, quickens
the pause;
the traveller looks ahead
her eyes fierce
and determined,
she steps forward
again
and the cold light
leads her
further than she
ever imagined
and
without turning back
she enters
a new silence;
it is in the not knowing
that makes her cross
it is in the knowing
that stops her.




*Legends tell us that bridges throughout the British Isles, Scandinavia, and continental Europe were built by the devil in return for the sacrifice of the first being to cross over.


_________________________




About Teresa: Teresa Williams is a psychotherapist, poet and translator in Seattle, Washington. She has been writing and trying to live poetry for as long as she can remember. Her love for travel and the Spanish language has called her into translation work. She is also an active member of Grupo Cervantes, a bilingual writer’s group and literary community in Seattle.

Teresa’s poetry has been featured at births, weddings, funerals and several talent shows held by the closest of friends. Her first piece on red Ravine, Sound Falling From One World Into Another, was published in August 2010 and featured the poems: Swans, Two Coyotes at Dawn, and Tarot.


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Nightshade Of Bridge Blue, BlackBerry Shots, I-35 Bridge, Minneapolis, Minnesota, November 2009, photo © 2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

 
 
 
 
 


loss runs river deep
vertebrae span the dark sky
nightshade of bridge blue
crossing when we get to it
for time will not let us choose








Berth Of The Nightowl II, Spine Of I-35 Bridge At Night, The Weight (Vertebrae), BlackBerry Shots, Minneapolis, Minnesota, November 2009, photo © 2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.


-Related to posts:  WRITING TOPIC – 3 QUESTIONS. PRACTICE: Have You Ever Come Close To Death? — 15min (by ybonesy), PRACTICE: Have You Ever Come Close To Death? — 15min (by Bob Chrisman), PRACTICE — Have You Ever Come Close To Death? — 15 min (by QuoinMonkey), Berth Of The Nightowl haiku, Memorial — Day & Night, haiku 2 (one-a-day), 40 Days, 8 Flags, & 1 Mennonite Choir

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MoonRise Near The Bridge, Minneapolis, Minnesota, July 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

MoonRise Near The I-35 Bridge, July Thunder Moon masquerading as November’s Frost Moon, Minneapolis, Minnesota, July 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.








Frost Moon haiku

hawk moon, beaver moon
freezing river maker moon
red fire in the heart


November Frost Moon
never saw the camera
appears in July








Note:  Though I closely watched the Frost moon rise and fall throughout the month of November, she eluded my Canon. I never got a good shot of the November moon. Looking back through my archives, I decided to post these shots from the July Thunder Moon.

It was a beautiful summer night. I was walking across the 10th Street Bridge in Minneapolis with a couple of friends. We stood across from the I-35 bridge (still under construction) at the exact point where the middle was about to meet. When we turned around to walk back, the sun was setting; the Thunder Moon was rising in the East.

Many of the names for the November moon reference flowing rivers about to freeze over from the approaching cold. The Mississippi was warm on this July night, another winter yet to come. I am nearing the end of a year of posting these Moonwriting practices. One more — the December Solstice Moon is just around the corner.



10th Street Bridge Moonrise, Minneapolis, Minnesota, July 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.Moon Curve, Minneapolis, Minnesota, July 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved

10th Street Bridge Moonrise, Moon Curve, Minneapolis, Minnesota, July 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.


-posted on red Ravine, Saturday, November 29h, 2008

-related to posts: PRACTICE – September Harvest Moon – 15 min, Against The Grain (August Moon), The Many Moons Of July (Digging Deeper), winter haiku trilogy, PRACTICE – Wolf Moon – 10min haiku (one-a-day)

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Rio Grande Swimming Hole, July 12th, 2007, all photos © 2007-2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Rio Grande Swimming Hole, July 12th, 2007, outside of Taos, New Mexico, at a Writing Retreat with Natalie Goldberg almost one year ago to the day, all photos © 2007-2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.









cliffs rise, bodies howl
floating down the Rio Grande
swimming in July









  View From The Swimming Hole, July 12th, 2007, all photos © 2007-2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.     Toward The Bridge, July 12th, 2007, all photos © 2007-2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved

  Leaving The Swimming Hole, July 12th, 2007, all photos © 2007-2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.     From The Bridge, July 12th, 2007, all photos © 2007-2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

View From The Swimming Hole, Toward The Bridge, Leaving The Swimming Hole, From The Bridge, July 12th, 2007, all photos © 2007-2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.




The Rio Grande is 1,885 miles long, the third longest river system in the United States. This is for all of our writing friends in Taos this week, diving into her river wildness — screaming, floating, swimming, wading — walking in the mist, getting wet.




          Dive In!, July 12th, 2007, all photos © 2007-2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.       Dive In!, July 12th, 2007, all photos © 2007-2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.       Dive In!, July 12th, 2007, all photos © 2007-2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.



-posted on red Ravine, Friday, July 11th, 2008

-related to post, haiku (one-a-day) 

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Memorial By Night, Gold Medal Park, Minneapolis, Minnesota,photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Memorial, By Night, Gold Medal Park, Minneapolis, Minnesota, August 5th, 2007, shot through the grove of trees at center circle, facing the I-35 Bridge, photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.


I heard on the 9p.m. news that they found the final and 13th person from the I-35 Bridge collapse. The final person as far as they know. Our visit to the Memorial two weeks ago was unplanned. Liz had purchased tickets in May to see 1776 at the Guthrie on August 5th. We had plans to take her Mom who flew in from Wyoming the night the bridge collapsed.

By the time of the Guthrie performance, the Memorial in the grove of trees in Gold Medal Park had already formed. We took some flowers to the play that night. Before the performance, we ate dinner and walked out on the Guthrie’s Endless Bridge to view the I-35 Bridge.

And after the performance, we trudged through the soggy grass up the hill in the dark, and placed the handful of flowers down under the trees. The bridge was lit up in the background. We said our prayers.

I wanted to wait until everyone was found to post these shots. The eerie, blue neon lines from the benches that square the trees on the hill at Gold Medal Park threw strange shadows on the handmade signs that night. A light breeze blew through the summer air.

We stood together silently for a while. Then walked down the hill, picked her Mom up in the lobby next to a group from the 1776 cast, drove through the city, and headed back home.

Perhaps tonight there is a little more peace. Yet I heard that 6 died yesterday in severe flooding down in southeast Minnesota. Roads, bridges, and railroad tracks caved in. Houses flooded, fell away in mudslides, and are buried in layers of silt.

Maybe there is no peace. Only the idea of it. And the gentle acceptance and quiet strength that reverberate through our town.


Memorial From The Guthrie, Minneapolis, Minnesota, photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Memorial, By Day, Gold Medal Park, Minneapolis, Minnesota, August 5th 2007, shot from high inside the Guthrie Theater, Memorial is in the center of the circle on the hill, left view is the reflection in the stainless steel window panel, photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

 -posted on red Ravine, Monday, August 20th, 2007

- related post: Bridge To Nowhere – The Great Connector

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by Teri Blair

Years ago, I was given a reading list by my 11th grade English teacher. I was in the college prep class, and the list of 100 or so books were ones he wanted us to read before we graduated from high school. It wasn’t just his idea. He told us a committee of English professors had compiled it. These books were considered the bare-bones-minimum to have read before we darkened the first door of a collegiate hall. The list included all the classics. Most of us got to two or three of them. We instead invested our time cruising up and down Main Street in convertibles and drinking chocolate shakes at Hardees.

But I held onto the list. In the countless moves I have made since I graduated from high school in 1979, I never lost the list. I made several resolves through the years to read each and every book, and with every resolve I would read a few more. Finishing them before college changed to finishing them during my lifetime.

And then this summer, something happened. A fire was lit under me, and I can’t stop. I read O, Pioneers! (Willa Cather), The Crucible (Arthur Miller), and A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Betty Smith). I read The Red Badge of Courage (Stephan Crane) and White Fang (Jack London). I have read twenty books from the list back-to-back — the intensity and desire to continue building with every book.

There is one that stood out for me. One I curiously have liked better than all the rest. Thornton Wilder’s The Bridge Of San Luis Rey. It is the story of Brother Juniper, a Franciscan monk living in Peru. One day, the most famous bridge in the country suddenly (and without warning) collapses, killing five people. Brother Juniper is desperate to make sense of it, to understand why these five died. He researches the life story of each of the people, trying to find connecting links/clues/a rationale. He wants to know if the way we live our life really makes a difference or matters. He wants to know if a Divine Force is orchestrating events. Or even cares. The book is fabulously written, a real page-turner.

I finished the book about a week ago, ten days at the most. I finished it right before the funeral of my cousin Shawn, the one who died unexpectedly when his car overturned on a country road. I was thinking about it when we stood around his grave in silence. I kept thinking about it when I returned to Minneapolis. Why some are taken and others left. Why I am left.

And then on Wednesday, in my beloved city, the bridge went down. And Thornton’s book was no longer simply a great piece of literature. In the first hours of learning about the 35W bridge, I had the strangest sense that the book was coming true specifically for me. It was eerie and confusing and I wanted it to stop and not get that close. I did the only thing I could think of; I read the next book on my list: Thornton Wilder’s Our Town. Emily’s famous line, spoken from the grave, now rings in my head. “Does anyone ever realize life while they live it? Every, every minute?”

I crossed over the bridge six hours before it collapsed. The speed limit was only 40 mph, and I remember it clearly — the men with hardhats and orange vests, the traffic diverted to one side, the midday sun heating up the concrete. I replay the drive slow-motion in my head, understanding that at that moment the bridge was straining, barely able to maintain its load, almost ready to release. It was breathing its last breath. We didn’t know.

I have realized this week that I am not afraid of dying. I am afraid of never living. I am afraid of mindlessly grinding through years being half-conscious and blandly molded to the status quo. I am afraid of never realizing my life.

And so I walk slower. This one act is real. My connection to life.


-related posts:  Bridge to Nowhere – The Great Connector, Fear Of Bridges, Minneapolis At Night, Natural Wonders: A Pentagram, The World According to Mr. Schminda (et al.)

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Gold Medal Park, July 2007, near the I-35 bridge, Minneapolis, Minnesota, photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Gold Medal Park, August 3rd, 2007, blue light from the Guthrie, and the old Gold Medal sign, a few blocks from the I-35 bridge, Minneapolis, Minnesota, photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.


I ended up in downtown Minneapolis Friday night, by the I-35 bridge. I didn’t plan to walk down by the river. But that’s what ended up happening. Liz and I took her Mom into Minneapolis to pick her brother up at the Hilton. The four of us went to Harry’s by the old Milwaukee train station for dinner. Liz had seen a write-up in City Pages.

The chocolate banana cream pie was sizzling and creamy, the Robert Cray a little too loud, the beer bottle chandelier campy, the energy electric. The fresh shrimp appetizer stared back at me from a clean, white plate with beady, black eyes and centipede feet. I had to work too hard to snag the meaty centers. But the butterbeans and ginger dipping sauce were delectable. And we had a good time.

Eat At Harry's, August 2oo7, photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved. After dinner, Liz decided to try to drive over the 10th Street Bridge. It was blocked off. So we went over by the University of Minnesota to see what was happening. Things were buzzing: summer students, slow-moving SUVs, curious tourists, and everyday people like us. People who live here and want to steal a fleeting glimpse of what’s happened to their city.

We couldn’t see much. But we did pass by the blue and yellow media tents precariously perched on the edge of the University Bridge. There was a lot of neck-craning navigation through slow-moving traffic. People seemed unusually eager to let us in. Kind. Polite.

Grain Belt Chandelier, August 2007, photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved. Later, we dropped Liz’s family off at the door of the downtown Hilton. We were tired and knew we wanted to get home. But we were so close. So Liz took a chance. “Wanna go down by the river to the parkway?” she asked. “Yeah, let’s try,” I said. Liz has amazing luck with parking. She found a spot under the gangly shadow of the Ceresota sign, right across from the old Whitney hotel. We grabbed our cameras and started walking down to the Mississippi.

It had taken me a few days, watching endless loops of media coverage, to figure out that my favorite part of West River Parkway was no more. The closest we could get was a short span of road under the Gold Medal Flour sign, next to the Mill City Museum and the Guthrie Theater. There were groups of people gathered on a little outcrop across from the Stone Arch Bridge. They stood two by two, talking one on one, quietly discussing what they were seeing.

There was pointing and head bowing and quiet honor. Shared solitude. Silent prayers, inner mourning, deeper understanding. Solidarity. The I-35 bridge over the Mississippi had caved into the river. And yet we were still here. All that was left were the bright lights, twisted beams, and green vertical V’s of mangled metal. Everything else was under the river.

The 10th Street Bridge was standing behind the collapsed bridge. The illusion was that it stood in front of it. We walked past the Guthrie, down to within a block of the Red Cross building. A twenty-something policeman with a green flashlight, blue cooler, and yellow tape, roped us off from going further. It would be a long time before I drove the Rebel on that stretch of road again.

From the last barrier, we could see the section of the bridge that had smashed into the parkway. It stood brightly lit through the dark foliage that covers the river banks. I’ll never forget the woman on the news who had gone under the bridge on the parkway seconds before it collapsed. Her account of the deafening noise, immediate silence, confusion, horror, disbelief, and helplessness, will stick with me always.

Ceresota, August 2007, photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

-Ceresota, August 3rd, 2007, on a walk to see the I-35 bridge, Minneapolis, Minnesota, photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.


Liz and I walked silently back to the car. We took a few photographs, and checked in with each other when one of us would stop to stare at the river. My camera battery died. I wasn’t much in the mood anyway. I was taking it all in. And trying to hold the enormity of it. I’m not there yet. But the cover of night offered solace. By the time we were ready to leave, there were only a few people milling around near the Stone Arch Bridge.

We slowly walked up the hill by the old mill ruins. Liz snapped a few hundred ghostly orbs. We didn’t realize until we looked at our photographs this morning that bright blips of ghostly light were peppered throughout her photographs. The Spirits of the old mills are restless.

Perhaps they are shaken up by what they have seen. Or are surfacing to offer comfort to the living. There have been countless accidents and fires on that stretch of the Mississippi. Minneapolis grew up on her banks; she’s suffered a new scar. Loved ones have been lost. They are holding up the sky.

While we were driving home through the city that night, I realized how much I love it here. I was not born and raised in Minnesota. And it took me a long time to feel like I fit in. But after 23 years, this is my home. I love the Midwest. And Minnesota. I love Minneapolis.

I was surprised to feel the tears well up in my eyes this morning when I looked at the night shots of our town. I felt a strange sense of pride.

The pride has always been there, a hidden undercurrent. But Friday night, when I stared at the swollen Mississippi, quietly holding the severed, crumpled aorta of our city, the root was unearthed. I tapped into a vein of strength: a deep layer of connection and community; a place I know I belong.

Saturday, August 4th, 2007


-Bridge To Nowhere – The Great Connector posted on red Ravine, Sunday, August 5th, 2007

-related posts:  Fear Of Bridges, Minneapolis At Night, Natural Wonders: A Pentagram

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