not the bridges of madison county

I love the bridges of Richmond. They are no architectural triumphs by any means. They are simple and quiet, sometimes elegant, and to me, quite satisfying.

My favorite is the Nickel bridge. It is a small two lane bridge that is made of intricate iron workings on either side and is lighted by short lamps which are part of the iron work. It is a quaint bridge and one of the quite one I think. As cars pass each other in close proximity, it's as if they are quitely saying hello to each other.

The one I take to work everyday, the Powhite Pkwy, is a toll bridge and although I pay everyday and hope that my $.50 will soon make enough of a difference that the tolls will soon go away, I make sure to enjoy the view on either side of me. On the left is a train bridge that was clearly built when we took time for grandeur and beauty in transportation. The train bridge is grey stone with slender arches that reach just under the flat top. Everytime I look at this bridge I imagine riding in a cafe car on a train in the 20s, sipping tea and headed south to somewhere fabulous. Just visible beyond the train bridge is the Nickel bridge, much shorter than the train bridge and sometimes I think it is a whisper of a bridge in the distance. Back to the right side of the Powhit bridge. On the right is only the James river and it's tree lined banks. The river is a bit rocky at this point and every morning I can gauge the level of percepitation west of Richmond. When the river is at a normal level, birds perch on some rocks that barely rest above the water level. The first time I saw I bird sitting on one of these tiny rocks, I wondered if he thought himself a daredevil.

The Hugenot bridge is at the end (or beginning) of Cary St. It extends into the posh westend of Richmond. This bridge is two lanes with rails on either side that mimic a picket fince in metalic piping. But, it's length is what is so fascinating. It goes for at least a quarter mile and part of is not over water at all. When you start the bridge from the Cary St. side you enter and curve around into a grove of trees. Because it's a bridge a this point, you feel as if you are suspended through a small forest. As you curve around, train tracks appear quickly and then the banks of the of the river. It's a bit like a fairytale bridge, no exactly magical, but unnexpected.

The Willey Memorial Bridge mimics the Hugenot bridge in length and setting, but is far different in description. The bridge is all concrete and lit by standard street lights.

The Lee Memorial bridge is my least favorite. This bridge is open to pedestrians on either side so that the blank concrete feel is even more guarded by chain link fencing. Although the bridge is wide with four lanes, you feel boxed in and can't see the water underneath. The idea and realization of being suspended over rushing water does elevate the drab feel of this bridge for the brief trip over the James.

The 2ndSst. bridge is another non-descript bridge, but on the downtown bank there is a memorial to Vietnam veterans of Virginia. It's a beautiful memorial, a large stone wall in the background, a grand shape of a women inside, behind a glass wall. I've haven't seen it up close, it's on my list of things to do. Just the other day I discovered an walking suspension bridge under the 2nd st. bridge. The walking bridge literally hangs below the towering car bridge above. It reminds me of the Millineum Bridge in London, another beautiful walking suspension bridge.

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