Life in little places

Creek Crossing in Southern Indiana


Even when this bridge was new—perhaps in the 1880s—daily crossings would have been few in number. Maybe a dozen people walking from one side of the village to the other; local farmers driving their teams to fields in the country; now and then a man on horseback starting out for the county seat a day’s ride away.

When the old bridge was too weathered to use and the road was rerouted, traffic may have picked up, but the pace of life continued much as it had always been. It was a time when people lived in little places, rarely traveling more than a few miles away from home. Everything important to them was bound up with the folks who lived near by. In these little places, villagers were closely connected to one another in all of the common ventures of life.

Could we still live that way? Probably not, but sometimes, as I slowly work my way over the crowded bridges that dominate my life in the city, I think wistfully about the way life was lived in these little places.

Note: Photo by Keith Watkins in an unidentified location in southern Indiana, taken about 1980. This photo and note are part of a continuing series of  bicycle-related portraits of life in America.

2 Responses to Life in little places

  1. We saw a couple of neat covered bridges across the McKenzie River west of McKenzie Bridge. It’s always especially neat to cycle across them with the sound of the clacking or creaking boards under wheels! Have you cycled that stretch?

    • Joe, I’ve cycled over some Indiana covered bridges in better shape than the one in the photo, and two or three in Oregon, but in the Valley rather than up the McKenzie River. The creaking noises are interesting.

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