When The Lights Go Out

I used to walk across the top of the High-Level Bridge, hundreds of feet above the North Saskatchewan River and dream about what launching myself off would look like. Granny told me a story once about her brother who did just that. But he got picked up by eagles just before he hit the ice, and they carried him back up and dropped him into the mess of wires that used to hang off the sides of the hunky-ass metal structure. Eventually, the fire department was able to get him down, and many, many, many years later, he died on the north side from a heart attack. Take that whatever way you want.

I tried to time those walks with the sunrise. Night, darkness, winter, all of it makes me very sad. I know myself and my tendencies for exaggerated sadness better now, not well but better. Back then, on those walks, I was still figuring it out. Sunrises helped. I’d stroll through the hole in the chain-link fence and out onto the bridge just as the dawn sky started to break like an egg across the river valley. I imagined it rained yolk down on the refineries off on the horizon. That the yellow liquid clogged up the flare stacks and sizzled over easy on the coal-black crude tanks. You’d need a giant eagle egg to crack dawn over a prairie.