Thursday, August 2, 2007

Stress, The Bridge Breaker

Most of you probably saw the tragedy last night on the news. I'm talking about the bridge in Minneapolis that collapsed without warning. Six people were lost to that catastrophe and my condolences go out to those families. At the same time, I am in awe that so few folks were killed. If someone had written this into a novel, no one would have believed it could happen. Bridges just don't collapse. Yet the few experts have said unnoticed stress caused the accident. I'm sure in the days ahead we will read more about bridges and the intricate workings that make them safe.

And I wonder how many writers will work this into their novels? Is there some way to keep a tally in the next few years? Will it become over-used like so many other tragedies have in the past? I wonder too, if we as a society will become afraid of the many bridges that are over fifty years old. Professionals said the Minneapolis bridge was safe, but it still collapsed. So we wonder if budget cuts or other bureaucratic measures have overlooked safety for economics. Perhaps that is the real story in this tragedy.

In the last few weeks my family and I have traveled to Peoria IL numerous times to stay with Skip in the hospital. We crossed the new bridge stretching over the Illinois River. It soars high above the water. If it came tumbling down, the out come would not be so encouraging. The drop alone would give one a heart attack. It doesn't take much for my imagination to conjure up a tale of horror.

Yet we can not live in fear of bridges. We should not fret needlessly, but we can insist that bridges in our community, county and state be checked and rechecked. We can take measures to insure our safety. We can write to our congressmen to address this issue. As writers we can express our concern in a dignified and fluent manner. But it takes action.

In closing, I thank those who expressed concern for Skip, my mother-in-law. She passed away on Tuesday and I miss her so much. But the stress of watching her struggle in her broken body is over. I feel she strengthened a bridge in my life, the bridge to ever-lasting life. Her pain brought my family together as never before. And that's a bridge that won't crumble.

Til next time ~

DL Larson

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