|Reversing Falls Bridge|
Inspirations come from any given source, and for me when it comes to writing, a lot of mine are conversations. Having a conversation forces me to live in the now. It holds me to a place in time with another human being. Of course not every conversation we have in the run of the day has all that much importance or even matters. It’s when we’ve moved onto something else and the previous moment is lingering on, stirring feelings in me while I stir my cake batter and even while I measure out a cup of milk to add to that batter and my thoughts are on deciding if I want to make chocolate or vanilla icing, my mind is drifting backwards and my feelings are being stirred more than the batter before me over the subject of that conversation. It knaws at me and I can’t focus 100% on the task at hand because of it. For me this is the birth of inspiration. I must add that I do not act on every single inspiration I have either. Some float to the back of my mind where I keep a vault. Stories that have promise that someday might be written. When the time is right. The following is one of those stories. The time is right…..if not overdue.
The city itself is really of no importance in this writing except to paint the picture of where the story takes place that would otherwise be unknown to those who are not from here.
So back to the conversation that kick started this inspiration. A friend stated that her husband and daughter were on their way to New York City and I responded by saying that we all know that New York City is known to be one of the most diverse cities in the world where anything goes, can be found or seen. My youngest son has been to the big apple more than twice in less than a year and I’ve known other people who’ve been there and none of them ever came back with any stories about the ‘craziness’ of the place or the people.
What is strange is that I can take one trip into our great city of
Something needs to be done to protect these people as much as we are able to and starting with the Reversing Falls Bridge is a great place to start. Maybe a deterrent of some kind. A cage over the top and sides of the bridge such as the one that runs over the highway that runs parallel to City Road. Maybe security placed on either end of the bridge in mobile units with cameras placed on the bridge. They had security on the Harbour Bridge to catch toll crashers and speeders. The money was there for that. The money could be found for this cause as well.
These people need to be protected from themselves. They are ill and cannot be expected to be responsible for their own well being. Sometimes a small gesture such as a hand on someone's shoulder, a sincere smile, even direct eye contact can save a person's life. Sometimes we can surprise ourselves at how much of a difference we can make in someone elses life, even a strangers life.
I have several times in my life. Once stumbling across a young woman who'd taken a broken bottle and sliced up the inside of both arms from wrist to the inside of her elbows.I did a little first aid and made two tourniquetes while the person with me ran to call an ambulance. The young lady became hysterical screaming that they would put her in the crazy house and that to just let her die. I convinced her to go and she did. She would of bled to death had we not come along when we did. I seen her a few years later, alive and well.
Another time I talked a jumper down from a 5 story ledge. All the usual lines weren't working with him and he wouldn't come down. So, I pissed him off. So much so that for a moment he forgot what he was upset about and started to climb back down to get at me. Happily for me, 4 very large police officers got to him before he got to me and took him for a ride to the hospital. Last I heard he was alive and well, married with kids.
And once a good friend had sat at my kitchen table every night until the wee hours of the mornings for a good week crying over the breakup of his marriage. His wife had done him very wrong. He couldn't get past what had happened. He was suicidal. I could see that. In the end he managed to pull himself together and get on with his life. He later on had delivered to my door some beautiful red roses and a thank you card. It read, "Thank you for being my friend. Thank you for saving my life. Forever Grateful, Don." In truth I'd not said or done anything. I sat there night after night and shut my mouth and let him vent, cry and talk. We drank tons of coffee and smoked a lot of cigarettes. And there were moments we said nothing, and that was ok too. Sometimes people don't want or need our advice or opinions. Sometimes they just want to be heard and for us to just listen.
The last experience I had with the Reversing Falls Bridge and jumpers was back around the end of May into early June of this year. The weather had been doing nothing but fog and rain for 6 weeks. It left a lot of people feeling blue and dreary because of it. I'd had at that time had a conversation with my reliable source about the jumpers and the bridge. "It's the weather," they said. "Some people just can't handle the constant gloom.", I didn't know it at the time but their statement about the constant gloom would later on come back to haunt me.
During my last experience my husband Eric and I had been running errands in the city. The fog that day was thick and heavy and I remember the windshield wipers had to be kept on to keep the windsheild clear. After running errands we were driving up Chesley Drive heading westbound to go home. The truck climbed the hill up to the end of the drive which lead to the Reversing Falls Bridge. As soon as we crested the hill the sun started to break through the clouds and fog. My attention was drawn to the small park just before you drove onto the bridge. A white sedan type car was parked askew, half up on the sidewalk just before the bridge. The drivers door was open and noone was inside the car. Everything in my memory after that was like slow motion. There were people running onto the bridge. There were people running to the end of the park that over looked the rapids. They were all staring down into the rapids. There were police cars everywhere, 5 in total I think. Red and blue lights flashing. One officer trotting across the bridge while looking down over the side at the water below. A young Asian couple standing in the middle of the bridge leaning against the railing looking down to the water below, their bodies close and one arm wrapped around each others backs. A young man holding large binnoculars against his face, leaning into the railing on the bridge, looking down into the water, searching, all of them searching. And the sun shone. By the time we reached the other side of the bridge the fog was quickly lifting and I could see blue sky. I wondered if the person that had jumped had gotten one more red light or had stopped to let someone cross the street and had lived just a few more seconds to see the sun shine......Well, we won't ever know that. They called out the Coast Guard that day and they did a water search and after 3 hours called it off. The person had jumped during an outgoing tide. Whether they ever found this lost soul is anyones guess as I've already stated, these things are not reported.
On the rest of the drive home the dialogue was at a minimum. Both Eric and I deep in our own thoughts. Solemn would best describe it. And painful. Logically I had no right to feel pain, did I? I had no business wondering about how that person's family would deal with such a tradgedy, right? I didn't know that person from Adam so what was this craziness, this overwhelming saddness inside of me. I choked back a lump or two deep in my throat.
We leave the highway and drive down into Chance Harbour where the sun was shinning and the sky was blue. Everywhere I looked trees and grass of emerald green. Eric slows the truck down and it rolls to a putt. Like a faithful horse it seems to know the way home. We both roll our windows down to let the salt air in. I lay my head back against the head rest and close my eyes and breathe deep to take in the cleansing air of the breeze from the bay. I let the wind rushing in through the window pick up my hair and whip it around and it falls over my closed eyes. I make no move to brush it away. Flashes of sunlight are dancing between the trees and I feel the strobe like shadows play against my eyelids. I feel the vibration of the truck under me and take comfort in knowing it is taking me home. I feel the truck slowing down and take a soft left turn. The truck stops and the engine becomes quiet. I remain as I am. I feel Eric's warm hand on my forearm and he softly states that we are home. I don't so much as stir. I hear him, but I hear something else too. The waves crashing on the shore. The seagulls crying their call over the cove. The soft ticking of the engine as it cools. The beating of my own heart. I hear life. I'm surrounded by it. Everything to remind me that I am alive and well. And in that moment I feel gratitude, for everything. I give up thanks for just being in that moment, or more importantly being made aware of that moment. I feel thanks for being loved and wanted and for being home, for having a home.
Most importantly for knowing that we live and we die and that regardless of that, Mother Nature still has some living to do. The ocean, the bay and the surf will continue to arrive and leave us twice a day as she has since the beginning of time. Many forms of life will be born and die and yet she never misses a beat. Even she will take life should we test her. And some will give their lives to her. And she doesn't discriminate against anyone who throws themselves at her. Some can't help themselves and will dive into her cold waiting arms. It's our job to look after them.
Until the next high tide.............................