It's kind of creepy under this bridge over Bayou Bartholomew on South Olive Street in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. Lots of critter tracks and slither marks in the cracked mud. Weird sounds reverberate as cars and trucks zoom by in two directions just a few feet from the top of your head. The dungeon-like appearance harkens back to a horror movie scene. And under normal circumstances, the dank depths of the underside are just a few feet from your butt.
Sunday, July 10, 2011
While many people are probably curious about what lies in wait under a bridge, precious few venture down to snoop around and satisfy that gnawing inquisitive urge. On the other hand, the seamy side of things needs to be shot as well as flower gardens, old barns, and critters. That being so, it is the bounden duty of those who record things to do the deed.
As I was shooting, it occurred to me that I was recording a creepy, but necessary part of our local framework. It's kind of like the bottom of your shoes, the way-back bottom corner of your closet, or the sofa-crevice (divan if you are from the South). You can't enjoy bridge benefits without the ghoulish underbelly. You get the drift. Anymore, fording streams is simply not much of an option.
There's still another side to the imagery. Take a second to look at the confluence of horizontal and vertical elements. The under-side image has an almost Mondrian like appearance — without the primary color patterns he made famous.
From a different perspective, the bridge and bayou take on a new mantra. Downstream in morning light, our favorite bayou looks downright inviting, and the bridge looks like it belongs where it is. But remember, down below. Oops.
A bit further downstream, the bayou is a major destination for discerning dragon flies. The display of these flitting insects is spectacular in the rays of morning sun.
Meanwhile, back at the pond, the lily-pad community is working on its next generation. The pond is cypress-lined and not far from the bridge. Along the edge is a good colony of water lilies. Funny thing about these flowers. They do not pay attention to daylight savings time. If you want to see a full flower, you'd best get there before 3:30 or so in the afternoon when they close up shop.
The next generation of water lilies are developing in this pod. A few weeks back, it was a magnificent bloom. Having successfully done its job, the bloom has taken on a more utilitarian, but necessary appearance, if we are to continue observing lilies.
While the underside of a bridge, a convention of dragon flies, and a pregnant water lily may not seem to rank highly in the overall scheme of things, pausing to consider them is a thing of the highest rank. For about five minutes or so, we can forget about and flush from our mind wars, pestilence, politicians, potholes, the price of gasoline, the spilled Coke in the fridge, and the fact that our favorite dry cleaners are closed for summer vacation.
N O T E S:
Most of the time, there is more to the Photo of the Week story than can be told in an essay. And most of the time there are more pictures to be seen. Presuming that some folk will enjoy being privy to this trove of information, I have created a blog, “Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind,” where I am showing and telling “the rest of the story." There are also some blatantly commercial mentions of some of the things we do to earn our beans and taters. Click on the Weekly Grist logo and go to the blog. — J. D.