Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Over the Bridge...

To get from Waco to the Tyler area and back, you usually drive down Highway 31. Occasionally, however, you should allow Highway 31 to happen to you. It is during these times when your car remains still while the little towns that all look the same do all the work and pass through you. Today, it happened to me.

I went home to be with family for the 4rth of July and timed my return to coincide with dusk, so I could be treated to the firework displays all along the highway sky. After passing Malakoff and noticing the old black couple who were sitting on their front porch shelling peas this morning had gone inside for the evening, I approached Trinidad and the Trinity River Bridge that rises out of nowhere. Before I got there I looked to my side to see the fields flooded. The tops of barbed-wire fence posts were sticking out of the water and the embankment of the highway was elevated in such a way to give the impression that I was driving down into a lake, filled the brim.

As I arrived to the bridge I marveled at the beauty of the sky. The sun, just over the horizon, appeared to be surrounded by millions of mirrors reflecting purples and pinks and oranges onto the rushing river. I've been listening to Patty Griffin, and at the top of the bridge the second verse to When It Don't Come Easy hit my ears. It was here that Patty sang to me:

I don't know nothing except change will come
Year after year what we do is undone
Time gets moving from a crawl to a run
I wonder if we're ever going to get home

As I passed the apex and descended back to the real world, I had a flash back to two years ago, Independence Day. Somehow everyone was out of town except Kyle, Jen, the kids, and me. We decided to take in the celebrations downtown. Knowing the river area gets packed for the fireworks, we headed there early. The kids, Avery almost five and the boys almost three at the time, were being, to use Kyle's exact words, "little shits." We didn't just not make it to the fireworks, we didn't even make it to dark before Kyle and Jen decided that the evening just wasn't going to happen.

When they dropped me off at my house, they were embarrassed and apologetic, probably thinking they had somehow ruined my evening. What they didn't realize was that, for me, a few minutes of pure chaos and stress is just fine with me, as long as it is shared with people I love. It was unknown to them that two years down the road, I would long for that night that they perceived to be an awful disaster.

And that I'd wonder if I'll ever get home...

No comments: