Walnut Street Bridge. | Skillshare Projects

Walnut Street Bridge.

Its oak planks beckoned me from slumber on my last day in Chattanooga. As I stared into dissipating fog, witnessing runners vanish into its depths, apparitions swarmed my thoughts—remnants of Walnut Street’s past. Those souls followed me back to Boston, and sit with me now as I remember their strength.

Angered residents and heartless persecutors have tied too many to its rafters, hanging them by their innocence and watching them slip away into its pores. Terrified protestors, wanting to stomp police brutality into its grains, have rumbled across its blue frame to city hall. Exhausted workers, with barely a penny to show for their efforts, trudged across it everyday for the sake of their children. And during the second half of the 20th century, it was rendered impassable—alone with its thoughts it rested for years.

On this morning, the Tennessee River wrapped its whispering smoke around it as the sun crept into the day. Sunday’s freedom will soon draw out the shrieks of pleading children and disgruntled parent’s phony chatter. But at dawn a stray drunkard’s stumble may be its only patron.

As a resident, I lived on the Walnut Street Bridge—it was my bike path home from work and my frozen sanctuary for many winter dusks. More than an avenue to life’s daily toil, it’s a beaten path through life’s rich pageant.

The weight of history and solitude’s serenity pulses through a bridge in Tennessee. Soak it in.


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