Angle to Key West: Bridge Troll (6/7)

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Ocean City, NJ – June 7, 2013

Trucks rumble louder and rougher than cars. Their wheels click differently over the concrete seams and sounds bigger a few feet above my face.

A bridge is a roadway first, but a roof second, and as Andrea’s long, spiral arms reached out with the first drops of rain, I scrambled up the crease of rubble and wedged myself under the concrete to hide. It felt almost cozy when I closed my eyes and forgot where I was.

But closing your eyes isn’t easy under a bridge, even one with no graffiti or any sign that anyone ever comes underneath. It’s loud and there’s always a bit of fear.

I stare up at the grey slabs for hours. I listen to people pass by, counting them by the hundreds, imagining where they’re going. Rain rushes in rivers off the edge of concrete and splatters in the bay. Waves pop against pylons and spit foam into the air. Water soaks through cracks and drips down in little streams. The world feels wet.

Sometimes I see Ocean City on the far side of the bay, its Ferris wheel quiet and still. Sometimes grey rain swallows it whole. I watch and stare and wait.

The storm licks around the edges, scratches at me, but can’t reach. I cook dinner in a lull. I study maps and read a book about old portage routes in Canada. I pace under the concrete and watch the tide. I catch choppy handfuls of sleep. I go a bit mad waiting for sunshine and the chance to move again.

5 responses to “Angle to Key West: Bridge Troll (6/7)

  1. I think low pressure systems affect our bodies in an odd way. Makes us edgy, unsettled. It is as if biologically we have evolved in a way to know that when there is low atmospheric pressure, the weather will be challenging.
    I have been enjoying your Instagram pictures and captions on the side of the page. Paddle on. Looks like the China hitchhiking trip won the Outside magazine adventure grant this year. Voting ended yesterday.

  2. I was wondering how you would handle Andrea. I watched her progress up the coast and sent you warm, safe thoughts and worried a bit about you.

  3. Bet you are glad to be inland now…the Hudson River valley is such a gorgeous place. Hope you are taking plenty of pictures to post!

  4. Man, I’m glad you’re not taking the Erie Canal route. The flooding around Herkimer in the Mohawk Valley looks crazy. Hope your route is a safer one. Be well.

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