At the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve, we were heading up the Jekyll Bridge- a glorious, wondrous thing that is the highest point around here in this coastal plain. From atop the bridge, you can see the chain of island, the marsh- and its everchanging tides, the port and its busyness, the paper mill and its pollution, and you can see the ocean. You can see it all- the beauty and the degradation, the vastness and the constant changing nature. It literally takes your breath away- up on top of the Jekyll Bridge.
We hadn’t planned to be on top of the Jekyll Bridge. We had planned to stay with our friends in Orlando after a long day at Harry Potter World and the Islands of Adventure. We had planned to watch the fireworks at Universal. But after an exhausting day of crowds, noise, and waaaayyyy too much stimulation, our friend’s mother was ill and I was not feeling all that well and you cannot get a hotel room on New Year’s Eve at the last minute- so we headed for home. Home and our own beds. We knew we wouldn’t make it home by midnight, but I was curious where we would be.
And so we drove on in the dark, listening to music, making light conversation- Elizabeth asleep in the back, Ray taking seriously his job of “Must keep the driver awake” by chattering. It was a light, quiet moment- one that was much appreciated after a day of barely holding it together. Elizabeth, my sensory-seeking darling, was in her element- she rode every ride; she wandered through the streets barely able to focus on us as the Marvel comics, cartoon characters and crowds attracted her attention. And she crashed as soon as she got in the car. Ray… Ray held it together simply because his attention kept being distracted. He would start to melt down and we would feed him, or we would whisk him away to another activity… Spiderman saved the day on several occasions. He was so glad for the comfort of the quiet, dark car. We were all glad for the comfort of the quiet, dark car.
I drove home- steady speed- perhaps a little fast, since I drive fast- but not too fast. I had my eye out for crazies, drunks, and other people who are out driving around close to midnight on New Year’s Eve. And I watched the clock tick down. As the bridge and midnight grew closer, I thought, “I wonder… Nah. What are the chances?” I did not change my speed; I did not stop; I did not alter a thing.
As the clock turned over 12:00, we started up the ramp. As the clock turned 12:01, we were coming down the other side. At the midpoint of the midnight, we were on top of the bridge. At the stroke of midnight, from atop the bridge on New Year’s Eve, you can see the first fireworks from both St. Simons and Jekyll Islands- dual celebrations of light framing the horizon.
I’ve been mulling ever since- what could/might it mean? It felt meaningful. It felt amazing.
Are we bridging from one time frame of our lives to another? Are we not quite from here, but not quite from anywhere? Are we starting a year of transition? Was this minute given to us to reflect and to ponder and to appreciate the time and the place and the moment?
I’m not sure, but I lost my breath in appreciation at the perfection of the universe to put us in that precise place at that precise time. We may not know where we’re going at any given moment, but clearly, we’re where we’re supposed to be.
And at midnight, on New Year’s Eve, that was on the bridge.
And yes, we are SO buying a print of the bridge to hang on our wall to remember New Year’s 2010.