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The Train Bridge

Do you have a place where you can go when life seems crazy and you just need a moment of solace and peace? A place where the world suddenly makes sense again, in the midst of seemingly utter chaos? For me, that place is on a dusty back road in the rural regions of Saskatchewan. A few miles outside of the hamlet where I spent 5 years of my college life, right out of high school, there is a bridge. It is a pretty bridge, for what it is. The beauty is lost on the landscape. Thousands of people drive near this bridge daily, on the busy number 1 highway, but none of these people will ever see it. It is a small bridge and underneath this beauty, trains pass through daily. I had heard about the train bridge early on in my college years, but sadly did not experience it until my fourth year of college, when the boy that I was in love with took me for the first time.

It’s hard to describe the train bridge in all of its glory. It is located in such a rural spot that when you go there at night (really, the only time TO go there), the sky is a blanket of stars. You’ve never seen the night sky as brilliantly as a spring evening in Saskatchewan. The stars are a beautiful endless expanse of sparkling glory. That, in and of itself, makes evenings in Saskatchewan very special. Then you add in the train bridge… It’s eerily quiet when the train approaches. You see the head light from far in the distance, but it makes very little sound. If you stand right in the center of the bridge, you fear for a second that the train will somehow plow you over, but you are completely safe. The conductors are used to students and locals going to the bridge and they often blow the whistle RIGHT as the engine is under the bridge – which always catches me off guard and makes me scream in delight. Then the magic happens and you hope and pray for a long train. You stand on the bridge and every car that goes by you brings with it a massive and comforting gust of wind that makes you feel… free. It is phenomenal. The only other time I felt freedom like this was in Edmonton last year. We were engaged in an acting exercise where someone (we didn’t know who it was) took us outside, blindfolded, and we had to trust them completely to keep us safe. We felt the grass, rolled down hills, climbed things. It was exhilarating and lovely. But the best part… the girl who was guiding me around took me over to a giant vent. The vent was emitting air very quickly and as I stood over the vent, I couldn’t stop giggling. Standing there, with air rushing around me, I giggled like a little schoolgirl. It made me SO happy. Can I explain why? Not really. Except to say that the feeling was… freeing. I felt free. Such an abstract thing to say.

As my summer gets under way here in Toronto, some difficult things are happening (along with some beautiful things). But I find myself needing to feel that freedom again. Longing for it. Craving it. I’m not sure where to go, where to turn. In the 7 years that I have lived here, I haven’t been able to find that freeing place… where I feel safe and secure. It doesn’t have to be a place that has air rushing around me. It doesn’t always have to be a place… I have found this feeling in the arms of a man that I loved before, I have found this feeling being amongst dear friends. I caught a glimpse of this feeling at my birthday dinner the other night. 7 friends of mine, people who had never really met one another before, and I went out for dinner and had the most incredible time. It was really loving. Freeing, dare I say. But I need to find a place where I can return to, time and time again, a concrete spot that is quiet, serene and full of beauty, where I can, as cheesy as it sounds, find myself when I am feeling lost. This is one of my missions for the summer. Though I know I won’t be in Toronto forever, and this perhaps may be my last year here, I am determined to find this spot. While, constantly, holding onto the train bridge and the memories there, in my heart. Till next time, xo Deena. (photo credit: Elena de Jager)

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