I Went Down to the River

It’s a remarkably warm December here in Iowa. Last night what should have been a huge snowstorm was just a lot of rain. Before that we’ve had sunny 50 degree days. This weather belongs in Denver, not Ames.

But we have it, so I guess the answer is to work with it.

I grew up in a small house on the south side of Ames. Across the street and a few feet past the city ends, and rural Iowa was never far. One of the places I used to explore was an old bridge across the Skunk River. Getting to the bridge couldn’t be easier: walk east down the road until it’s dirt and keep walking.

image of barns and pipeline sign

Earlier this week I decided to do just that. It had been years since I last visited the bridge but very little has changed. A new No Trespassing sign by the fields and a new gate across the far side of the bridge, but nothing else I could see.

dirt road

bridge closed

Even though the road and bridge appear to be private now, the bridge is far too substantial to have been built simply as private access to fields. I wonder about its history and whether once upon a time the narrow dirt road had a destination.

image of bridge

The river was low but moving. I like the slow sweeping arcs it is still carving out of the farmland.

river bank

I can’t go back to my childhood, but I enjoy revisiting old haunts.

— Steve

Posted on 30 December 2011