Another local road trip today: to one of the swimming areas near the Swann Covered Bridge, which cross the Locust Fork of the Warrior River.
The bridge was constructed in 1933, is very long (for a covered bridge), and is the oldest surviving covered bridge in Alabama.
It’s about 35 miles from my house – a little less than an hour drive because it’s not like it’s interstate on the way there.
I understand there are more interesting swimming areas both up and downstream from the bridge, involving waterfalls and canyon walls, and yes, a rope swing. But they also involve hiking a bit, and since I wasn’t sure how long it would take and we had gear which was rather inefficiently stashed in Trader Joe’s and Publix bags, I decided the safest bet for a fun, rather than frustrating and unexpectedly exhausting day, would be to stick near the bridge.
Which was fine. There was a bit of a current, but not overwhelming, and the water wasn’t much more than waist deep for the boys.
The rocks were slippery though – but they learned their lessons at Turkey Creek (where we’ll be returning this week), and know that hands and knees are often the safest mode of transport from water to dry land.
We were there for about three hours. Just as they do at the pool, they would occasionally and hopefully ask me, “Are you going to get in?” I have never understood the attraction of me getting in the water with them – but it’s there, for when I do, the event is met with great shouts of joy. I have no idea why. It’s not as if I throw them around or run races with them. But for some reason, it makes them super happy when Mom gets in the water.
I was ready today, but I never did go in, after all. I think part of it has to do with a sense of caution.
For you see, I think a lot about me traveling – even an hour from home – with these boys, alone, just the three of us. I think about safety, I think all the time about the possibility of something befalling me and what they would do. They know what to do, for I always have my phone and they know how to use it, but still.
What was it today that kept me on shore? It wasn’t the lovely beach, for there wasn’t one, really.
No, it was the fact that we were pretty much alone and somewhat isolated. True, there were workmen on the bridge – it was closed to both car and foot traffic because of the work. And yes, three kayakers drifted by at one point.
But that was it, the rocks were slippery, my older son has moved from Birmingham to Charleston, my daughter’s in summer school in college several states away….the car was probably a thousand feet away – the road down to the area was blocked off to keep as many idiots as possible off the bridge-in-repair – and it was just me and the boys and the three or four guys working on the bridge.
Even just turning my ankle on a moss and algae-slick stone would be a huge problem.
So no, I didn’t go in, as tempting as it was on this very hot day.
As we were driving away, I said with satisfaction, quite pleased with myself at the success of the afternoon, “Well, that was fun!”
Michael piped up from the backseat, truly puzzled, “But how was it fun for you? What did you do that was fun? You just sat there and watched us!”
Interesting to see it from his perspective. So I told him that sitting by the water – any water – is just about my favorite thing in the world to do. Sure, I like to be in it, but even just sitting there on a rock, listen to the river rush over the rocks, watching fish and other creatures…
…and most of all watching these other two creatures have a wonderful time floating, scrambling and sliding, playing in the water…
..and out of it…
…having adventures by themselves over on the other bank, still within my sight, well within reach, but still, because they are on the other side, feeling proud, adventurous and independent.
That kind of afternoon is quite a lot of fun. The most, for me. They don’t understand that yet. But I hope they will someday..since if they do, that means they’ll have children of their own, watching them grow by leaps and bounds, the bridge standing strong, the river carrying them, but not too far.