Sunday, April 22, 2007

"Home" and some Guardian Angels

I had the opportunity to visit some places in Maryland where I lived over a decade ago. I had a similar opportunity in Germany a year or so ago, so I knew to be prepared for the shock of change. Whenever you live in a place, leave, and then come back years later the changes can initially overwhelm the impression. However, the familiar aspects eventually win out if you stay long enough.

How I knew I was back home -- In the grocery line, the language being spoken ahead of me was Hindi, and the language being spoken behind, Russian. In the part of Georgia where I now live, there isn't nearly the diversity of dialect.

I hiked the trail next to the Bollman Truss bridge. The bridge, which spans the Little Patuxent River, is the last surviving specimen of the first all iron railroad bridge design. The red painted iron stucture stands out from its suburban surroundings, and the path that leads from it goes along the creek in a ribbon of woodland. It was too bad I didn't have a camera; it was a beautiful day and the rocks, plants and creek were beautiful. Fishermen and waders were out in force.

I was determined to walk for 30 minutes in and turn around and walk 30 minutes out. As I did so, memories came flooding back of taking small children and strollers down the path, of climbing down the rocks to the water. As I moved up the trail, I passed two ladies sitting on a bench chatting and came upon a couple of larged downed trees. The trees had apparently gone over in heavy wind, as they were still connected to their roots.

The large trees had fallen directly across the path. Since I had only walked about 15 of my 30 minutes, I decided to try to scramble over the trees and hike the rest of the path. One tree trunk in the way was three feet thick. I was able to get over and and through the downed trees, then veered away to see some of the larger rocks off of the path. When I returned to the path, I found it very narrow, and in one place it bordered a dropoff of 15 or so feet. The ground grew more uneven and rocky. As a younger man, the obstacles would have barely fazed me, but at my current size and age I moved slowly, stopping at one particularly treacherous passage. After a brief pause, I shamed myself into edging my way through it without falling off the cliff. And for my pains, I was rewarded with an abrupt end to the path. I found a nice seat on a rock and looked out at the river for a few minutes. I looked around and thought that if anything happened to me, and I couldn't loudly call out, it might be hours before anyone else decided to get past the obstacles and happen upon me. I gingerly made my way back over the pass of doom, back through and over the downed trees and out to where the ladies were still sitting.

"We waited for you in case you had any trouble," one of the women said. "It gets pretty narrow back there and it's pretty high." I thanked them and moved on my way. I thought to myself, you never know how or in what form your guardian angel will look after you.

For some good pictures of the Bollman Truss Bridge, click here.

BTW, I did not make it to St. J's, so I didn't meet up with Rambling Speech. Perhaps next week I'll remember to take the address/directions to the church. :-/

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Blogger The unconventional mother said...

Great post!

I am realizing that there are no more powerful memories then memories with your children in them. I write this as my singelton chants "I want to go to school." And I wonder if I can stretch out these years a little more because I am not ready for it yet.

6:06 AM  

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