During the current coronavirus, my YMCA has been closed, as it should be. To exercise, I’ve been riding my Trek touring bike a significant distance whenever possible. Often, these rides take me along one of the many wonderful trails that follow the Mississippi River as it meanders through the Twin Cities, separating Saint Paul and Minneapolis. I admit, I have often taken for granted the incredible blessing of having the Father of Waters flow just a stone’s throw from my doorstep. In the past week, on my rides, I’ve paused here and there to photograph some of the bridges, architectural marvels, really, that span the river.
The first photo is of the Lake Street-Marshall Bridge, among the newest to connect Saint Paul and Minneapolis.
The next downstream is the Ford Parkway Bridge, one that always reminds me of the lovely image on the cover of Ordinary Grace.
The next is what we call the High Bridge, which I used significantly in The Devil’s Bed and some of my short stories. The reason for the name is obvious. At its highest point, it stands 106 feet above the river.
And if you’ve read This Tender Land, the final bridge may strike a familiar chord. In the section of the novel that’s set in Saint Paul’s West Side Flats, Odie O’Banion stands on this bridge a number of times, gazing at the river and wondering where its current will take him.
If you’ve spent time in Saint Paul, these bridges may be familiar to you. If not, when you finally get a chance to visit this city I call home, I urge you to spend some time lingering on one or more of these massive spans, taking in the beauty of Old Man River, just as Odie O’Banion did back in 1932.
Stay safe, stay well, stay hopeful.