Sunday, March 31, 2013

Second Thoughts




Funny thing happened on my way to sunrise service this morning -- I missed both the service and the sunrise. The flesh wasn't willing and the spirit had second thoughts.



So I visited Pasadena's Suicide Bridge instead -- at a decent hour, around 11 a.m. Bridge built: 1913. Destroyed by earthquake: 1989. Resurrected: 1993.



Until the turn of this century, the mouth of the bridge featured some fantasy cottages dating back a hundred years or more, and in a delicious state of decay.



I should have captured them before they were lost and gone forever, but I didn't. The recent replicas lack soul.



Although, although, if one could find a back way, and squeeze the tractor between the railings, throw the arm out as far as it could reach and shoot blindly, if one were so imprudent as to do such a thing, it might be possible to find an original cottage, lovingly restored.



Suicide Bridge got its nickname back in the 30s. The real name is Colorado Street Bridge, and it's protected, or we're protected, by something called a "suicide-prevention guardrail" now. Judging from the height, I don't think it prevents so much as asks, "Are you sure?"



Though I missed the "He has risen," celebration today, I tossed a rose off the bridge in memory of others. Really.

I don't know what happens to the dead, but then, I don't understand the secret of seeds or the mystery of static cling. When it comes to death, the worst-case scenario has always seemed probable, but perhaps I lack imagination. Anyway, it's Easter, so here's hoping, and ...



a testimonial.

31 comments:

  1. Now that is a nice ending to your post!. Is it a desert tortoise? I had not idea about the 'suicide bridge'.. My husband loved Pasadena and he never mentioned that bridge...

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  2. I've crossed the bridge on foot a few times. Once I saw a tribute to someone who had jumped. Family members left notes, flowers, a picture...it had been one year. They would never stop wondering why.

    I've been pretty low in my life. We all have. But I haven't had to feel that bad.

    Never sneaked up to a cabin, good for you.

    I'm so relieved about the turtle.

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  3. Sometimes it's best to break from the plans and follow your intuition.... Your post is rich and wonderful.

    I'm relieved for the turtle, too. :-)

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  4. I like your beautiful, colorful pictures.

    I've been on Suicide Bridge a number of times. It's rarely planned - usually just a sudden decision to go - but it's almost always at night. Like last week.

    One day I'll write about that experience & another, sooner or later. On 2nd thought, probably later.

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  5. You are a woman after my own sleepy heart Hiker!!! Mornings were definitely made for sleeping in!!! I had forgotten that the bridge was hit hard by the earthquake...and so glad that it was bolstered up to see another hundred years...(it was built the year my parents were born!!!) It's a beautiful bridge...

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  6. I'd say you are a lady with friends, reading the comments above. I am glad your day produced the photos and text for today. Enjoyed it!

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  7. my uncle's nickname is Turtle. fantasy cottages, delightful. The plane boss!

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  8. Man, I am glad the turtle is back!

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  9. Lovely house! I am glad the turtle is back too, but I think that the owner must to put a fence, it's will prevent the turtle run away again...

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  10. You think he ran away? I thought he came back from the dead (just hibernating perhaps) or something really spectacular to justify the announcement.

    Many locals have stories about the ghosts they've seen on Suicide Bridge. Some folks have all the luck.

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  11. Especially love your bridge images - so many colors and textures from one architectural wonder. Your first askew pic set the tone for the text.

    There were two more suicides that took place this past week. Hard times make for hard choices, I guess.

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  12. A wonderful piece of history. The bridge wasn't destroyed in the quake, but declared seismically unsafe after '71 Sylmar and '87 Whittier quakes and the NorCal '89 quake. Retrofit did some "damage" but it stood thru the '94 Northridge events.

    Plenty of people still jump despite the barriers. I've known of at least 1/2 dozen people I can name who jumped in my lifetime, sadly.

    On a more positive note, my father said he used to race UNDER the bridge---there is a gate I think Petrea took some pictures many years ago of the gates that were put up to prevent people from playing under the bridge or upon it.

    Really glad the turtle made it back home!

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  13. Happy for the turtle. We all need more testimonials.

    We have a suicide bridge here, at the northernmost end of the Turnpike. They call it the "Freedom Bridge". Rumor has it that the governor who lived here had that bridge put in to cut 5 miles off his commute home. It now has prevention fences, too, after someone leaped and landed on cars in the brand new supermarket whose parking lot is right next to the bridge. I don't mind looking down, but get vertigo looking up at it. Anyway, ours needs about 50 or 60 years more history to catch up to yours, but absent earthquakes, won't have as colorful a history.

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  14. Someone jumped last Thursday. I saw it in the paper.

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  15. Roberta and Margaret, I didn't know about the recent suicides. Wonder how many people have been saved by the guard rail, to Mike's point. The effort involved could at least give time for a second thought.

    When I googled to get some dates, and thanks Trish for the correction, I trust your info more than wiki's, seems the Golden Gate is the granddaddy of the suicide bridges. And then one in London.

    Margie, you're always a treat. No one can touch your laconic delivery.

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  16. About 20 years ago, I met a couple who I liked very much...I hoped to become friends with the woman...I met her again a couple of times after that...then one day, I found out she had jumped off the Vincent Thomas bridge in San Pedro and killed herself...I was shocked...I never suspected that she was depressed, much less suicidal. According to her husband, she had recently gotten on Prozac. At the time I was working in a psychiatric residential placement for kids, and had heard of people committing suicide while on prozac. Well...it really concerned me...so I asked the psychiatrist about Prozac. He told me that one of the things Prozac does is lift the immobility, as well as lifting the inhibitions...he told me that if the person did not have adequate coping skills to draw from, the person's immobility is lifted and therefore they are more likely to actually act on their suicidal feelings. Which totally made sense to me....even so, I was still devastated by this woman's suicide. Suicide befuddles me...I've been depressed many times throughout my life, but never have I even considered suicide...I can't imagine that kind of desperation. I think of the Colorado bridge's reputation as Suicide bridge whenever I cross it...and in my mind, say a prayer and bless those who have sought it as the answer to their problems...

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  17. I like what you did with your Easter. Introspection seems much more appropriate than an egg hunt.

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  18. I like the way you chose to celebrate Easter. Can I assume that your trusty sidekick, Albert, was by your side?

    Everybody needs a good turtle resurrection. I love that they immortalized it in concrete. *grin*

    Carolynn

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  19. I remember those cabin's back in the feral state. I think some of them were included as part of the transformation - but impossible to actually point out.

    And as you might expect, Mr V and I raided them for what might of enjoyed Trash Tuesday status. That is, had the picket fencing not been loaded with termites.

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  20. It's a beautiful piece of architecture, that bridge, along with City Hall and the bungalows of Arroyo Terrace. They had vision, back then. Maybe it's still around.

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  21. Oh, the stories this turtle could tell.

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  22. Is this the bridge we're forever seeing in commercials?

    I can't imagine feeling so bereft but if someone is determined to end their life by jumping off of a bridge, they'll find one - unless going off of a particular bridge was part of their statement. I'm still waiting to see if Tony Scott's family will be going after the drug manufacturers of the meds he was taking, Lunesta being one of them.

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  23. Chieftess, that's the scariest thing I've heard all week. And Paula, tragic.

    Georgia and Carolynn, beats eggs.

    Terry, you're lovely.

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  24. My question is . . . which side of the bridge was preferred by the jumpers?

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  25. Lots of bridges in Portland. Here's the one for suicide: http://cyclotram.blogspot.com/2009/03/vista-bridge.html

    I've been over it many times and I'm happy to say I never wanted to jump.

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  26. Great post. So many interesting things, I wouldn't know where to start. Oh wait. I do. I'm totally fascinated that you and your tractor saw an original cottage under the bridge!!

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  27. On that Arroyo Vista site from the "hotel/courthouse" leading to the east entrance to The Suicide Bridge, as of 1894 there were about six major bldgs. Unfortunately, the last bldg met its death in 1934. The hotel/cthouse with its bungalows was the result.

    Now I'm eagerly awaiting your stories of life & death from the trails!

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  28. Pierre, I'm sure that bridge could look pastoral, given the right kind of light. In his post, it's infinitely creepy.

    Adele, according to Cafe, the cottages were a 1930's something addition. But my photo is one of one of the originals.

    John, I think they go north.

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  29. A documentary came out a few years ago about suicide on the Golden Gate Bridge, called "The Bridge." Here's a quote in wikipedia from a survivor:
    “I instantly realized that everything in my life that I’d thought was unfixable was totally fixable—except for having just jumped.”

    Second thoughts can be very good things.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Bridge_(2006_documentary_film)

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