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poetry and prose about place

Archive for the ‘crossing the river’ Category

Ball’s Bridge’

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In southern Ontario, the Maitland River winds through fields and woodlands before it empties into Lake Huron at Goderich.

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When we visited the area two summers ago, we discovered the Ball’s Bridge on the Little Lakes Road.

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Ball’s bridge was built over the Maitland River in 1885. It is a rare example of a two-span pin-connected Pratt through-truss iron bridge and one of the oldest wrought-iron Pratt bridges in the US and Canada. The bridge was built at a time when horse-drawn carriages and carts were its only traffic. In 2006 the bridge was declared unsafe for the weight of modern vehicles. In 2008, the bridge was saved from further deterioration and eventual destruction by the Friends of Ball’s Bridge.

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The poem below tries to capture the interplay of light and shadow as we crossed Ball’s Bridge and drove the local roads.

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Ball’s Bridge, Maitland River

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on the first day of fall

landscape is criss-crossed

in lattice and wire

spider web and the flight paths

of pigeon-flutter

to the high lines

of the iron bridge

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rays of light

find solar panels

and the backs of turtles

sunning on river logs

the inter-lacing

of dark water and light

the shadows of metal and truss

intercepting wire

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cornfields

and winter wheat

embedded rows

a river and its valley

and a hawk follows

panels of air, first frost

and meltwater collects

on oval lily pads

yellowed leaves

rusted wire

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This is the second metal bridge we have visited in Ontario. A few years ago we photographed the South Nation River Bridge, in Glengarry County, not far from Cornwall. That bridge has been removed, another loss from our built landscape. For the story of our visit to the South Nation River metal bridge click here

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All my best,

Jane Tims

 

 

Written by jane tims

March 16, 2020 at 7:00 am

low, low water

with 3 comments

This year, in New Brunswick, we are happy to see the rain at last. The dry weather means forest fires are a concern and groundwater levels are very low. We hope for regular, soaking rains in the fall, to help recharge our groundwater.

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low water of the Rusagonis Stream, viewed through the ‘windows’ of our covered bridge

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Many streams and rivers in New Brunswick are at their lowest flows. We were in a similar situation this time last year. Low water means wading only, no canoeing in the Rusagonis Stream. Some of the stones in the photo above have never been seen above water before. Low water is of concern for fish since the shallow water means water temperatures get too high for them.

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the brown crescents in the river are sand bars, only revealed at low water

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Even the Saint John River is so low we are seeing sand bars where deep water usually flows.

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We had a good soaking of rain at the beginning of the week, and there is more rain in the forecast, so I will end this post feeling optimistic, and by showing you a photo of my husband as a little boy, fishing below the covered bridge (now gone) on the South Branch Rusagonis Stream!

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Glenwood Tims fishing on Rusagonis North Branch.jpg

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Copyright 2017 Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

September 6, 2017 at 7:09 am

Next painting for Isaac’s Way art auction …

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On January 25, 2016, the 25th Art Auction and Sale at Isaac’s Way Restaurant in Fredericton, New Brunswick will come to an end. Only a few more days to own some reasonably-priced art and help kids-in-need. As of January 4, 2016 this 25th auction has sold 22 paintings and raised $7,600 for art lessons for kids. For a look at the paintings still available, visit http://isaacsway.ca/art/. To have a look at my submission to the 25th Art Auction, see my post for September 18, 2015 https://janetims.com/2015/09/18/art-auction-new-painting/

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My next submission, for the Isaac’s Way 26th Art Auction and Sale, is a landscape.  The piece features a view of the Saint John River, from the Nerepis Marsh at Grand Bay-Westfield towards the Westfield Ferry. It is entitled ‘across the bay’ (24” wide by 20” high, acrylic on canvas, unframed with gallery edges). This auction will run from January 27, 2016 to late May, 2016.  The proceeds from the auction will go to sponsor kids-in-need. I am donating 50% of the proceeds from my painting to the charity.

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‘across the bay’ Jane Tims

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Copyright Jane Tims 2016

in the shelter of the covered bridge – a narrow bridge

with 2 comments

On our drive last weekend, we visited three covered bridges.

Usually our visits last at least an hour. At each bridge, we:

  • get a good look at the abutments beneath the bridge
  • watch and listen for birds
  • identify the trees near the bridge and any wild plants in the vicinity
  • photograph the covered bridge and any interesting architectural elements
  • take notes about the state of the bridge, any new construction and the condition and covering of the roof
  • look for animal tracks, holes made by woodpeckers, birds nests, spider webs and feathers
  • record any notations in the bridge – carvings, chalk, felt marker, pencil, pen and paint
  • make a list of the sounds I hear and try to absorb the ‘feeling’ each bridge evokes.

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Florenceville Bridge, New Brunswick

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I knew ahead of time, the Florenceville Bridge across the St. John River would be a different experience. Walking the bridge would be unlikely – there is no pedestrian walkway, the traffic is quite heavy and the bridge is narrow.  I did cross the bridge in our truck, a harrowing adventure since the bridge traffic is two-way. Cars slow down when they meet, but the locals are seasoned to the width and scary-brave.

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a red truck and a white truck meet and pass on the narrow bridge

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Only one span of the Florenceville Bridge is covered (built in 1907) and this is very well maintained. The other four spans are steel trusses. The pigeons perching on the roof of the bridge are its most obvious wild life.

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keeping watch

(Florenceville Bridge)

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fifteen pigeons swim through air

fill gaps on the ridge line

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perch on the shingled roof

scrutinize the traffic

the squeeze of half-tons

on the bridge

the kiss of mirrors

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pigeons quit the ridge, glide

to the shingled shore

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river winds shiver

hawkweed and sumac, displace

blankets of wild cucumber, billow

the skirts and Tilley

hats of tourists

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Copyright 2015 Jane Tims 

Written by jane tims

September 11, 2015 at 7:58 am

a covered bridge – the Burpee Bridge, Queens County, New Brunswick

with 2 comments

Last weekend, driving home from Miramichi, we followed the Grand Lake Road.  It is mostly unpopulated, devoted to tree plantations and a preservation site for mature white pine.

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Along the way, we stopped in at the Burpee Covered Bridge on the Gaspereau River near Gaspereau Forks, Queens County.  This bridge is listed as Gaspereau River #2 in the April 1992 pamphlet ’Covered Bridges in New Brunswick’ (no author indicated).   This means there was once another covered bridge crossing the Gaspereau River but it is now gone.

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The Burpee Bridge was built in 1913.  It is 167′ 9″ long with a span of  163′ 6″.   The roadway width is 14′ 8″, and the load limit is 8 t.   The maximum clearance is 3.9 meters.

The bridge is on a main road and the grounds on both sides of the river are nicely kept and mowed.  The bridge was named for the family living nearby in 1913.

Inside the bridge, there is a window, with a good view of the Gaspereau River, showing the exposed bedrock of the river banks.

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The rafters of the bridge are populated with swallows and their nests.  The swallows chirped at me and swooped in and out of the bridge while I was there.

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I couldn’t find any carvings in the failing light, but the inside of the bridge is covered in graffiti.

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A lot of fluorescent paint has been used and it would be interesting to shine a black light inside the bridge … no doubt it would glow with spooky color …

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We didn’t visit this bridge in 1992 as part of our Covered Bridge Project for Canada’s 125th anniversary.  I am sorry we didn’t do more bridges that year … some are now gone, and it is interesting to compare the information for those that have survived.

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This year, on July 27, the community plans a celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Burpee Bridge.  The bridge will be turned (temporarily) into a museum of photos and artifacts about the bridge and community.  Keeping our covered bridges in the eye of the community helps to preserve their heritage and value.  It also encourages sharing of the wonderful stories about the part these bridges have played in our communities and lives.

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Copyright  2013  Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

July 15, 2013 at 7:00 am

a ford in the river 5-3

with 10 comments

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houses in Le Gué d'Alleré

houses in Le Gué d’Alleré (image from Street View)

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Day 5-3 1 Logbook

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Day 5-3 1 map

map showing distance travelled (map from Google Maps)

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April 18’s virtual bike ride took me through the town of Le Gué d’Alleré.  A ‘gué’ is a place on a river where the water is shallow enough to allow easy passage, in other words, a ford.

The river in Le Gué d’Alleré was so shallow, it had no water at all.  I know this river sometimes holds water since there is an image embedded in Street View showing the river full of water!

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river in Le Gué d'Alleré

river in Le Gué d’Alleré (image from Street View)

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When I was young, we often visited my grandfather’s farm in Nova Scotia.  One of the places I remember well was the ford across the stream at the end of his road.  The water was shallow at this spot and people from the community would bring their cars to the ford to wash them.  It would not have been good for the environment.  Soap suds and leaking oil and gasoline would pollute the downstream water, probably harming the aquatic life, including the fish people liked to catch.

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ford

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at the intersection

of the lane and the County Road,

a ford crossed the stream–

flat stones and riffles

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in the shade of serviceberry and maple

we watched as distant cousins

washed their cars,

all suds and Daisies

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then took clean cars

further down the road

(further down the stream),

for an hour of fishing

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Best View: an image from my memory …

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'washing the car at the ford'

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Copyright  Jane Tims  2013

abandoned bridge – South Nation River

with 2 comments

In south-east Ontario, the South Nation River winds through farmland…

Driving along the river in October of 2012, we found an old metal bridge, closed to traffic.  Although left to rust, this bridge was beautiful in its simple construction.  The deck of the bridge was rotted, but wildflowers had taken hold in the debris.

According to the South Nation River link at  http://www.nation.on.ca/en/geocaching/ (South Nation Conservation), the bridge has now been removed.

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abandoned bridge, South Nation River

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years since I crossed the metal bridge –

we take the long way now,

over that engineered, concrete

contrivance, upstream

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the old bridge CLOSED, of course

trusses red with rust, corroded

pitted as the river bank

and its swallow-burrows

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once we walked those girders

leaned from the railings

amused ourselves by pitching rocks down

into the duckweed

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wouldn’t be safe today, the deck

rotted where hawkweeds bloom

all summer, cheerful

you’d think they’d been planted

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Published as ‘abandoned bridge, South Nation River’, Canadian Stories 15 (85), June 2012.

Copyright  Jane Tims  2012

Written by jane tims

November 2, 2012 at 10:00 am

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