Art, mile markers and handrail enhance my enjoyment
Today I took my second walk on the Biloxi Bay Bridge. Ann, one of my walking buddies, ferried me from home to the beach and held on to my gait belt as I trudged 0.2 miles up the bridge’s incline.
Bringing neighbors together
She also steadied me while I attempted to snap photos of some of the bridge’s features. I couldn’t figure out why I was having more difficulty than usual keeping my balance. It was a challenge to successfully keep the camera still and pointed toward what I wanted to shoot.
With Ann’s reminder that I was on an incline, I stopped fretting that I was somehow regressing in my progress to relearn how to stay balanced. I just enjoyed the opportunity to use my camera.
Pitcher plants common to our region
After Hurricane Katrina, the Mississippi Department of Transportation rolled out a plan for replacing the bridge that had been totally destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. The bridge is the U.S. 90 connection across Biloxi Bay.
As presented, the plan for a utilitarian, largely graceless bridge failed to measure up to the Ocean Springs mayor’s vision of the bridge as a reflection of the heritage, environment and culture of the two cities and counties that the bridge would connect.
Local sea critters
She swung into action with her ideas and persevered through an unceasing barrage of criticism and public ridicule from citizens on both sides of the proposed bridge, from officials of the neighboring city and from MDOT. Now the structure is a treasured attraction.
The well-protected lane for walkers, joggers and cyclists is marked with plaques created by local artists. The bronze renditions feature local plants, animals and traditions. Underneath each is a decorative mileage marker with two distances noted, one in each direction.
Metal benches at the highest part of the bridge and a couple other spots offer a chance to take a breather, enjoy the spectacular view and contemplate the natural beauty and the wildlife of coastal waters and the colorful vessels that ply those waters as part of the Coast’s business enterprises and recreational opportunities.
One-tenth of a mile farther than my first post-stroke bridge walk
To me the bridge represents the Mississippi Gulf Coast’s perseverance to achieve a recovery that strengthens both the physical infrastructure and the spirit of the region. The bridge is also contributing to my personal recovery, of both body and spirit.