Tenuous roots

Rows of precarious trees line the banks, leaning out over the water as if  pleading to passing boats.

The banks of this river used to be thick with oak and ash, but it’s mostly cottonwood and willow now. One face of a changing landscape. 

And you wonder how much longer the river-soaked roots of these particular trees can hold up against the relentless weight of time. How many more years will their entreaties go unanswered?  

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The remains of the old Hennepin bridge were photographed with a 15-minute exposure in the dark. February 2001.

Collected written works  |  Gary Marx

Fifteen minutes

in February

The water of the Illinois, smooth as glass, exposed for what it is: A continuum that spans a century.

Trusses of tired iron are replaced by newer spans. The bridges of the last century cannot support the weight of today, and rerouted traffic passes without a glance.

Beyond the light of day, with shutter wide, a camera can capture what the eye can't see. A window into darkness. Night becomes day, and time blurs. 

In fifteen minutes, 100 years can be exposed, and these trusses are a bridge to yesterday.

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