The Bridge – Photo Heart Connection

Savanna-Sabula Bridge III

Savanna-Sabula Bridge © 2012 Bo Mackison

 There is a land of the living and a land of the dead and the bridge is love, the only survival, the only meaning. ~ Thornton Wilder

When I decide upon my photograph for my monthly Photo-Heart Connection entry, it is often because there is a story connected with it. This month’s photograph follows the pattern.

The Savanna-Sabula Bridge crosses the Mississippi River and connects the island city of Sabula, Iowa to the river hugging town of Savanna, Illinois. I’ve lived in the Midwest all of my life, and have spent many a day traveling the roads that border the Mississippi, but until I crossed this lovely bridge, I never knew there was an “island city” in Iowa. I think of farmland and cornfields when I think of Iowa, not island cities. And certainly not island cities with the character of Sabula.

First, the bridge spans the Mississippi River, then crosses Sheepshead Bay, and manages to find enough land for the bridge supports as it crosses Israel Day Lake, Town Lake, and Dog Wood Lake. Finally we reached the small island-city of Sabula – we were on solid land, for a while.

Sabula has the BEST ice cream sundae I have ever had – and I come from the Dairy State and have had more than my share of ice cream sundaes. The Korner Ice Cream Shop, a tiny walk up, is easy to find. It comes into view just as you enter town from the bridge.

Then we drove the river-side streets of Sabula – old mansions with sit-down-and-rest-awhile-porches, widow’s walks, views of the river life. I imagine in earlier years,, these were quite the places to visit during the warm summer months.

And there’s more. Driving out-of-town toward mainland Iowa, we crossed one more lake, Sabula Lake. And we saw a flock of Great American Pelicans – probably 200 birds, all floating closely together as they churned the waters with their webbed feet, stirring up their dinner. I’m certain I have never seen a single pelican near the Mississippi River, so this was a big treat indeed. (Lots of photo, too!)

But best of all, I shared all these experiences with Sherpa, my hubby, who is always willing to accompany me on a Sunday camera shoot, always happy to check out a new ice cream shop or cross a new bridge. Even after 36 years!

A road trip, the discovery of new wonderful places, and great company. Ingredients for a perfect photo heart connection.

This is a year-long practice with a community of photographers.  As Kat Sloma explains on her blog, Kat Eye View, “Deepen the connection between your photos and your heart and soul by participating in this monthly review of your images, to find the one that best connects to your heart.” All are welcome.


Bo Mackison is a photographer and the owner of Seeded Earth Studio LLC.

Pelicans on the Mississippi River

American White Pelicans on the Upper Mississippi

American White Pelicans on the Mississippi River © 2012 Bo Mackison

 The soul has illusions as the bird has wings: it is supported by them. ~ Victor Hugo

This is the first year I have ever seen lotus flowers bloom across half the Mississippi River (in early July near Stoddard Wisconsin) and this past weekend I saw hundreds of American white pelicans brood in a protected area of the Mississippi near the Savanna, Illinois/Sabula, Iowa bridge. Amazing.

I have lived within a hundred miles of the Mississippi River most of my life. I have traveled the river roads from Dubuque, Iowa to St. Louis. Missouri hundreds of times. I’ve walked along the banks in dozens of Mississippi River towns, some only a few blocks in width, wedged on the available land between the river’s edge and the vertical bluffs. A  few of the larger cities crept up those limestone bluffs and then sprawled along the prairie lands – Dubuque, Minneapolis, Keokuk, Quincy, St. Louis are just a few I know well, the ones I have visited since childhood.

I’ve explored the Mississippi at its start in Minnesota, the beginnings of the river only a few steps wide. I’ve explored the Mississippi in Louisiana, boating through the bayous, walking along the Gulf Coast. My family and I took a cruise that left from New Orleans, heading to the Caribbean, and we rocked and rolled through the Mississippi Delta in the dark. Occasionally we’d see lighted platforms from the oil rigs, truly out in the middle of nowhere. Sitting at our dinner table on the cruise, we were mesmerized by the controlled sloshing of our drinks in the clear crystal glasses. The ship would tip towards the starboard, then tip towards the port, like a baby’s cradle, as it followed the channel. A bit disconcerting on our first evening on board. Our waiter told us they were trained to fill the glasses to different levels, dependent on how rough the river was running.

The Mississippi River is the longest river that begins and ends in the United States, if you consider the outpouring of her waters into the Mississippi Delta as part of the country. I never quite realized how attached I was to this river until I began exploring more of the river and the roads and towns that are near her shores.

Love this river in her many forms!

Bo Mackison is a photographer and the owner of Seeded Earth Studio LLC. This summer, she is taking weekend trips up and down the mighty Mississippi and documenting her short road trips with camera and pen.