Saturday, July 26, 2008

between here and there

During a recent road trip a little way up the Keys, I pulled over just long enough to find a few good angles of this old bridge just south of Bahia Honda. It's a section of Henry Flagler's "wonder of the world", The Florida East Coast Railway. Built between 1906 and 1912, several sections still parallel the Overseas Highway, which replaced it in the mid-1930s, from the Continent to Key West.

I've got a peculiar "organic" connection to this section of the historic railway and that's why I notice it, more than other sections, every time I'm up the Keys.

Years ago, a friend and I were out walking on the short section of the bridge that's open to pedestrian traffic. It's a moderately steep grade that climbs pretty high (I'm guessing a couple of hundred feet) as it ends out over the water where the view is fantastic.

It had been a hot sunny day but as we made it up the span to the end, the sky was a gathering of thick dark clouds with an occasional flash of high lightening. As we were looking down over the edge at the water below, my friend commented on the darkening day. When I looked over to reply I noticed her hair was all standing out on end and so was mine and everyone else's.

Remember, as a kid, rubbing a balloon on a wool sweater and then orbiting your head with it?

Who'd have thought it? Electrically charged air, electrically charged water and an exposed metal superstructure between here and there. . .
Static electricity!

I thought it was pretty cool but it freaked her out so we beat feet out of there and spent the rest of the afternoon watching other people's hair stand out on end from the relative safety of the nearby coffee shop.

No comments: