Owed to the MacKenzie Ravine Bridge


My friends Isla and Sue are among the functioning hearts and brains behind Snow & Tell - The Winter City podcast.
They asked me for a love story about winter. I'd been thinking lately about public benches and bridges, and the
work they do. You can put it like this: "I saw the moon from the bridge." But that's unsatisfactory. Because it's also
true that the moon is there because of the bridge. "I saw the moon because of the bridge." Of course, the moon is
there even if the bridge isn't. But not for me on that day in November on that bike ride home. Anyways, I wrote a
kind of unstructured ode to the moon, trying, too, to account for what's owed to the bridge. Here's the podcast.
Here's my part.

I fall in love with winter in Edmonton like the coyotes in the MacKenzie Ravine do. It's the moon.

You see, I ride my bicycle year round, through the long-light days of summer and, just the same, through the dark
days of November and December and January.

Not dark as in sad or sinister.

Dark as mysterious. As in romantic. As in the awareness that you're alone, and there's something out there that
knows it.

My bike ride home from downtown takes me over four bridges. The last one is the 142nd Street bridge across the MacKenzie Ravine. It makes me stop. The beauty, I mean. There I am near the tips of the spruce trees. Like sentinels with epaulettes of snow on their boughs they stand.

Out across the trees and across the twist of the river the skyline shimmers. I squint to make lens flares between my eyelashes.

And on some nights, like tonight, rising like a softball hit over the railing, the moon....the moon is....the moon just is.

Leaving in me here below, on my bike, in the snow, a sense as sharp as ice of being alive.

Of all the people who were ever alive, or whoever could have been alive, the genetic lottery being what it is....of all those once alive but now gone or who never became, who number the number of snowflakes in the North Saskatchewan River valley, this winter night I am alive.

For a second and a half, I see my breath rise, and then unravel.

Then I pedal for home.


As I sit at the table and put these words into the blog, the snow has just now started to fall outside the window. 


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