I stand on this familiar bridge, looking down through the spaces between the steel, at the place where it seems so recently I spotted a lone turtle swimming through the unnaturally green river water. At the time, I was surprised that anything could survive in there, and I can still feel the warmth of joy spilling through me at the realization. Not long after, as I paused on my way across the river, I saw a great blue heron poised at the water’s edge, still as a statue, unblinkingly observing the flow.
Today, as I look down, it is another world. There is no sign of the electric green water. No sign of birds or turtles. Looking through the steel grid, my stomach does not quiver, there is no inkling of the vertigo that comes of gazing into flowing currents from such heights. There is no sign of movement of any kind. There is only a thick crust of white ice.
It is another world: static, cold, hard.
I yearn to see movement, a turtle surfacing gracefully or a red leaf swirling in the flow. Instead, the only sign of life is the cloud of my own breath.
The hairs on my arm rise, under all the layers of clothes, as the wind rises against me. I cannot stay here any longer, searching.
As I turn away, I remind myself: if I wait long enough, the water will flow again, and the trees alongside it will grow leaves, and, if I am quiet, and patient, I will find wildlife here too.