Wellington Street

In which we take a stroll down a very strange lane.

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The River 2 "Elder on the Bridge"

On Wellington Street

“Back in my hometown there was an old, steel bridge spanning a local river. The river was fed by a hydroelectric plant. As a consequence the water tended to be much colder than the season would dictate, and was much faster than the normal course of the river would allow.

It was not uncommon, on the harder days of my childhood, for me to go to the bridge and walk its length. I would do this over and over, distracting myself with the sound of the wood underfoot, noting the places where the sound was different. Those beams in between the steel struts had a particular sound. A deep, hollow tone.

On the cold days of winter the cold air would howl across the expanse. But the bridge was sturdy and took no notice. The steel turned a burnt orange with age and weathering, but the bridge remained strong. And it remained a place where I could go when I needed to feel safe or wanted to get away from everything. Away from my home.

When I became a teenager it became a place for the local boys to hang out, throwing rocks into the water and spitting off the edge. On the whole they left me alone, but often they wouldn't. One time some of the bigger kids grabbed me and held me over the edge. Never mind the fact that the water wasn't very deep at that time and the drop was significant.

They thought it was hilarious. As for me, I never got over my fear of heights, and would keep a greater distance from the edges of the bridge after that. I used to enjoy looking over the edge and watching the water flow. But after I developed a fear of heights that became impossible.

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