Bend, Texas, in the early fifties….
Two miles away from Sand Cemetery, the Colorado River was host mainly to catfish, some fifty pounds in weight, yellow and blue. A few ducks from time to time browsed along the banks where the current slowed. I saw catfish, gar, perch, turtle, ducks and heron. Blue heron rose off the river, awkwardly flapping to gain lift. You cross your fingers every time they start up as heron may never make the air. But they do. They gain ten or fifteen feet, level off and then in slow wing beats glide above the river following its contours like a liquid highway. They would turn at the bend of the river, nearly out of sight as I stood on the suspension bridge connecting San Saba and Lampasas counties above the Colorado River, watching the blue heron turn a gray color in the distance.
The suspension bridge sagged three feet as cattle trucks crossed, the weight of the trucks pushing a ripple of bridge planks in front of them, like an ocean wave. I ran to the end of the bridge and slid down the embankment to see trucks pass, the wave rising and falling. The bridge held strong for passengers, livestock and man, until it was torn down and replaced by a wider, concrete bridge that held no awe, little respect, and absolutely no history. The old suspension bridge groaned and creaked when cattle trucks shifted gears to speed over the planks. When trucks first crossed onto the suspension there was thunderclap. The new bridge did not speak; it said nothing when built; it says nothing now.