Sunday, August 9, 2009

the bridge to nowhere

Ever since I can remember, I have thought about escaping from my mundane life into a world of excitement and adventure.

It is the wish, I imagine, of most small town boys boys and girls to want to strike out and find something new and different. Main Street, Winesburg Ohio, Our Town, books that I read in high school, revealed to me that this need was epidemic. The longing to leave is epidemic.

This last Saturday,
I dropped my son Will off in Emporia where he was trying out for an Olympic High School Development is expressed in many ways.Program. With the whole day to kill while I waited for Will, I brought my kayak along, hoping to find a river or stream to navigate.

Hartford, Kansas is north of Emporia and just off I35 on the way to Kansas City. The town survives on farming, and by survives I mean that like so many other small Kansas towns, it is hanging in there. Opportunities for high school students are limited. If you don't farm, you pretty much don't do anything.

At the north end of the town is a bridge. It looks like the "bridge to nowhere". It leads into the Flint Hills Park, but that is one way trip down gravel roads that end at the John Redmond Reservoir. If you really want to leave Hartford, you need to go back the other way, hop on I35 and head north to Kansas City.

The bridge is now the haunt of high school kids who wanting to express themselves, paint the bridge and not the town. From its railings these kids can look out and wonder where the river of life will lead them. Right now the bridge serves as a way to express loves, memories, feelings, and hopes. In a greater sense it expresses hope that out there somewhere there is more.

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