My Beautiful Bridge

I saw a performance piece “Bits and Pieces” at the Elizabethtown History Center museum a week ago. Then I saw the performance again.

The performance really hit me. Even the second time, I wept. Because the piece somehow captured it — the bridge, any bridge, is a metaphor for a woman. She serves, she links, she works, and suddenly, she is no more.

The Champlain Bridge, between Addison, Vermont and Crown Point, NY, the piece reminded me, can still be seen in the movie “What Lies Beneath” with Harrison Ford (who, like me and Hilary, grew up in Park Ridge, Ill).

I was not near Crown Point when the bridge came down in December of 2009. But a friend sent me the link on Facebook. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=URYzzGlcSKU&feature=related It so shocked me, caused me to gasp. The destruction of a monolith, like the World Trade Center, is just unthinkable. Transfixiating.

Lindsay Pontius produced the oral history/performance piece along with school kids from Moriah. It gives a voice to the people who made the bridge, used it, watched it implode.

The 80-year old bridge was more than a bridge. But she was not cared for enough.

This year, there is no bridge: businesses suffer; folks reminisce. ‘Bridge Road is the Bridge to Nowhere Road,’ a performer says.

What lies beneath is her legacy. Soon another Mother Bridge will be put in place. We will feel the old bridge’s demise was inevitable. The unbelievable becomes inevitable.

Until the new bridge steps in, New Yorkers board the ferry and cross the narrowest point of Lake Champlain to get to Vermont.

http://www.adkhistorycenter.org/cal/schedule10.html

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