Span­ning Time

An unas­sum­ing lit­tle bridge con­nects this con­trib­u­tor to her child­hood and me­mories of her dad.

More of Our Canada - - Contents - by Heidi Scott, St. Catharines, Ont.

There is a bridge in nearby Ni­a­garao n- t h e - L a k e, Ont., that’s re­ally noth­ing spe­cial, I sup­pose. It’s the same as so many other bridges that ap­pear over creeks and ponds and such. It has wooden planks, steel beams and is flanked by trees. It sits in a park sur­rounded by Ni­a­gara’s vine­yards, and if you stand in the mid­dle and peer over the side, you can see deer come by and drink from the creek.

My most-trea­sured me­mories of that bridge are from my child­hood. I spent many sum­mers on fam­ily pic­nics in that park, run­ning over the bridge with my cousins just to hear the stomp­ing sound our feet made on the old wood. We’d peer over the side and won­der how far the creek went and en­joy the shade from the trees.

My mom and dad would drive my older sis­ter Lory and me to the park on Sun­day af­ter­noons for a stroll. Lory and I would run across the bridge, pos­ing for count­less pictures and en­joy­ing the sea­sons chang­ing around us, with the colour­ful au­tumn leaves fall­ing from their branches and swirling around our feet or the snow piled so high we could barely make it to the cen­tre of the bridge. It was our favourite des­ti­na­tion and we felt at home there.

That park con­tin­ues to be a Sun­day- drive des­ti­na­tion for me and has for years. The quiet of the vine­yards across the way, squir­rels steal­ing pears from the trees, the old wooden pic­nic ta­bles... the place still touches me deeply. I have en­joyed watch­ing my own chil­dren play on the bridge and have snapped many photos of them as the sea­sons change—they seem to grow so quickly.

The bridge, rest­ing com­fort­ably at the edge of the park, safely cov­er­ing the long drop below and shielded lov­ingly by so many old trees, gives me a con­nec­tion to my child­hood. Es­pe­cially to my fa­ther who never seemed to mind how many times we wanted to run across and peer over the side. He would al­ways stand pa­tiently, let­ting us play our­selves out. It was his way not to hurry, but to sim­ply en­joy the mo­ment, en­joy the sur­round­ings. He had an easy way about him and I loved spend­ing time in the park with him, even when the snow was half­way up our shins.

In 2013, I lost my fa­ther to a lung dis­ease. It was, need­less to say, a dev­as­tat­ing loss for our fam­ily. I found my­self stand­ing on my favourite bridge quite of­ten, arms rest­ing on the steel beams, feet firmly planted on the wide, wooden planks, think­ing about Dad, feel­ing his quiet­ness be­side me. I feel him in the gen­tle wind that sweeps across the old tree branches, I can see his lop­sided smile, the kind­ness in his blue eyes, and I will al­ways know he is a part of that bridge and my count­less me­mories of be­ing there with him.

After the win­ter is over, and I look over the side into the creek below and see the wa­ter mov­ing, shed­ding its icy win­ter coat, I un­der­stand that life moves for­ward. My fam­ily will once again learn to speak of my dad with smiles and laugh­ter, and the tears will stop flow­ing as freely. For now, how­ever, this lovely bridge is my con­nec­tion to my past—es­pe­cially those care­free child­hood days.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.