Beginning: The Bridge Spoke

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.


Filed under Bend Texas, Colony Road, Recollections 1942-1966

14 responses to “Beginning: The Bridge Spoke

  1. There is no bridge like an old bridge….replete with character, flaking paint, charm. In the losing of such, something is lost….a note from the music, a word from the poem, a stroke from the brush….nothing is the same. Thank you for capturing this poignant feeling, Jack.

    • Bonnie, thank you so much for your reply. I have missed your messages and I am reminded as to why I have. I have seen your posts and the last painting you posted, the semi-nude woman with birds.

  2. A therapy exists for me in your writing Jack. A calming, a returning. Always beautifully written. Stories and moments that are not mine, yet speak to much of who we all are. Connected by experience. Through the present and our individual pasts. This year I move from one area of work into another. For thirteen years, half of it was Tribal Affairs. I have a passion for the work, the interactions, and will dearly miss it. Wonderful to find those underlying tribal stories and beliefs blended into your narratives.

    Beginnings has triggered a piece I’ll be working on thanks to you.

    • Thanks, Chris. There’s so much deep wisdom in tribal stories. I want to read your post on Beginnings when it’s done. That you worked in Tribal Affairs must have shown you so much out there.

  3. On my bog the photo of an old bridge in Cowels, New Mexico, still stands, tall, but proud and so much history can been seen on its weathered and worn wood.

  4. A beautiful post, Jack, just beautiful.

  5. StarkRavingZen

    I don’t know Jack… You’re always a masterful author, but lately there’s just something about your writing which can’t be replicated. Your words come together like an absolute symphony. What’s going on with you? Something grand… It’s a pleasure to witness and an absolute gift to read.

  6. Jack, I meant to ask, is the Cowles Bridge you’re referring to the one up Pecos Canyon just as you turn to go up to Holy Ghost Creek campground by any chance? I Love that area, that high little winding road all the way to the top…

    • Evangeline

      Cowles Bridge is up on Pecos Canyon , to Holy Ghost Creek.
      If you view my blog you can view a photo of it. It is one of my favorite to


    • Yes, that’s the bridge on the road to Cowles. The bridge is right there, I believe, at the turnoff to Holy Ghost. I love that area, too. Camped there many times. Peaceful back up in there. I’ve been all the way up to Cowles and the Pecos. My, my, how much I miss New Mexico now.

  7. Yeah, me, too. Come hell or high water, I’m going back for a while this spring.

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