Miami River Bridge -or- Beauty and Tension in Human Settlement

There’s quite a bit to see in the Hamilton Ohio area from a large outdoor art exhibit to a museum or three but apparently what I came away struck by most was this view of the Miami River

Miami River, Hamilton Ohio
Miami River, Hamilton Ohio (click to view the whole album)

When I took this in 2008, I was fairly impressed with it but since that time I’ve seen similar scenes literally dozens of times.  All in all, it must be admitted that there are LOTS of rivers in the world and there LOTS of bridges over those rivers and they all look fairly similar to this one.

That said, I think this picture strikes me more because of the symbolism involved.  We have, to all appearances, a marvelous day.  The sky is marvelously blue with white happy clouds.  The water is clear and seems to rejoice in the beauty of the sky as it reflects it all back.  All is grand!  Except it’s not.  If you look more closely, you’ll see that the shore is hard and unforgiving concrete.  Man has fortified the land against the river.  There’s tension in those straight lines barely touched by the fringe of green that subtly tries to soften them at the water’s edge.  On the left we have a factory doing god knows what to the water as it flows towards us.  Further in the distance yet another bridge slashes across the face of the river like a old but angry scar.  There is beauty here but it lives in a tense balance with the men who occupy the land.

My point here, I suppose, is two-fold.  Firstly, thousands of people drive across this bridge every day but I wonder how many of them see the land around them as I did on this day.  So many times we go on in our daily routines and fail to stop and just LOOK at what the land and sky have to offer to us.  There is a serenity and a peace in the land if we accept its offering.  Secondly, even when we look at the world around us, we don’t look closely to realize what our impact is on it.  As the song goes, “There is unrest in the forest, There is trouble with the trees”


  1. I love your words…we “don’t look closely to realize what our impact is on it” because life seems to rush right pass us unless we take the time to slow down, listen and see all the life lessons waiting to teach us something. Thanks for this lesson 🙂

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