Today on my way home from Grand View University I had an urge to take the back roads. Those who know me well will be thinking “He always takes the back roads, so what?” Well, yes I prefer secondary roads to interstates and 4 lane streets, but this time it was really the back roads I rarely take.
Just outside of Des Moines something in my peripheral vision to my left caught my attention. I looked over and tucked in amongst the barren trees was a bridge made of iron and wood. “Cool” I thought and continued on.
Within a tenth of a mile I stopped, the bridge was beckoning me to learn more about it. “I’m really not dressed to go trouncing through the woods” I told myself as I turned the truck around to go back.
I parked the truck and grabbed my Nikon, threw on a jacket and started towards the bridge on a trail. The trail had once been asphalted, but now all that was left amid the scattered garbage were little islands of paving in a river of mud.
As I closed in on the bridge, I saw it spanned a creek which was not that deep, but pretty wide. On the other side of the bridge was the Des Moines River. Where I could I hopped from asphalt island to island but most of the way was pure mud.
Once there, I could see that this bridge was part of the Neil Smith Bike Trail that runs from Des Moines past Saylorville Lake to Polk City. The wooden planks showed wear and tear from years of use and the iron rails had a nice patina of lichens growing on them.
I snapped away with my camera for a while and then even though I wanted to stay longer, I knew I had duties to attend to at home and started navigating the muddy trail back to the vehicle.
I don’t know why I like old bridges so much. Whether it is the symmetry of their design; or the metaphoric significance of them being a connection between opposite sides to provide a middle ground, is unknown to me; but I seem to be drawn to them all the time.