A Bridge Over


There are so many irresistible, pop-culture puns on bridges, and all of them are awful and overused, therefore I will not finish the title of this blog with a nod to Simon and Garfunkel. I refuse.  Because you can finish it yourself.

I’ve done a pretty poor job lately of pointing out the beauty in the ugliness of the Monocacy River, as I originally promised to do in my “About” introduction.  Really, there’s just too much conventional beauty this time of year to focus on the unconventional, or, at least, it can seem so when you when you shut your ears and imagine away what doesn’t suit.  In fact, as an urban river, the Monocacy can be a loud, brown, smelly place, particularly where I walk every day.  For instance, as I took this picture yesterday, I was inundated not just by birdsong, as the peaceful photograph suggests, but by the windy roar of cars passing over the bridge to a nearby highway, the distant grumble of a jet on its way to Dulles, and the industrial drumming of a helicopter landing at the local airport. (A fun fact: sometimes the helicopters I hear are carrying the president to Camp David). Also, there was a distinctly fishy smell emanating from the bank below, not to mention the sulfuric funk traditional to standing water mixed with rotting organic material.

I could drift into poetic enthusiasm about the joy of witnessing a kingfisher dive into the river and emerge successfully with a minnow in its beak, or how the setting sun sparkled on the miniature tributaries in the muddy shallows, or how a swallowtail slipped through the trees in mute conversation with the goldfinches and cardinals, but there is another truth. The kingfisher’s bickering chatter competed with belching diesel trucks, the water was choked with muck (and a random metal grate), and the swallowtail flitted over cellophane and alien species choking out native wildflowers. If I am a reliable narrator, which truth do I share with you?

The first photo?

Or this?


Or this?