Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The State of New York State Route 17

As the road ribbons before me and behind me, the hills rising and greening, the setting sun reflects ferocious light on metal or stream, contrasting with quiet shadows from pines, aspens, maples. Not one fly fisherman in the famous trout spots near Roscoe, not on this evening of Mother's Day. Why do the hills remind me of Japan, where I have never been? Just after Roscoe, the sign says, if I recall rightly, REST STOP 19 MILES. It is a long, long 19 miles if you have to pee. This time, I am not afflicted with that need. The 19 miles unwind if not rapidly at least not painfully. The rest stop for me is more of a stretch stop. It feels great to move. How many times have I made this trip? 89 times? Maybe more. Back in college, it wasn't even a real highway. You would think I could drive it blind. No radio on, no CD playing. My 2007 VW Rabbit makes some disturbing sounds. Alignment? Tires? Brakes? Worst of all, transmission? I keep rolling. Very soon after the Route 17 West rest stop, on the right, a commercial concern offers mulch and other wood products. It also displays a BRIDGE FOR SALE sign. And as I pass by rapidly, I see a bridge really is for sale, not the fabled Brooklyn Bridge for sale as offered by fast-tawkin' hucksters, but what seems to be a real-life rusted bridge, on a platform, maybe a platform truck, a bridge for your back yard or creek or temporary stream or wetland or movie set. Bridge for Sale. After all is said and done, we all need bridges. Pontifex and pontiff, they mean "bridge," did you know that? The next exit is Exit 89, Fishs Eddy, with the same missing apostrophe that Wegmans is missing, Fishs Eddy, a name appropriated by NYC interests. I keep rolling.

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