Thursday, February 24, 2011

Bridging Austin

I take an occasional walk along the 10 mile hike and bike trail edging Lady Bird Lake in Austin, our state capital, where the official unofficial slogan is "Keep Austin Weird".  

It's a good kind of weird, the kind that makes you say to yourself, "I could live here."  Austin is the only community in Texas that is a certified wildlife habitat, a designation referring to birds and critters, not music festivals, another locally prevalent form of wildlife. 

One of my favorite features is a pedestrian/bike bridge across the lake.  It speaks of a town where individuals are as important as the masses.

I usually stop mid-center to look at the water.  Ducks and water birds flock in winter, cliff-swallows fly in summer.  

And the UT rowing team practices year-round.  I like the idea that our lives leave eddies.

One cold morning not long ago, I looked up as I walked onto the bridge and saw a barefoot, nightgown-clad girl perched on the rail.  My heart jumped. I ran.  How to save her?  After a few steps I saw the photographer and stylists.

Looking south from the walkers' bridge, pedestrians see a bridge for trains,  decorated with illegal and truly Austin graffiti:
Life Is Change 
Be Flexible 

Focus One Point 

Graffiti for the walker's soul. 

At about the mid-point of the bridge a Ghost-Bike is chained to the rail, a memorial to Royce Scott McCoy from his loving family, and a reminder to share the road. 

An end and a beginning, this spiral garden links the bridge to the bustle of downtown, an Austin amen to the necessity of nature in our lives.

Copyright 2009-2011 Kathleen Scott, for Hill Country Mysteries. Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited.


  1. I want to visit Austin. I'm afraid I'd never come home.

  2. Thanks for sharing your walk.
    Where but Austin, could graffiti inspire?

    Have a good weekend.

  3. How very fascinating? Thank you , Kathleen.

    and my husband is in Houston right now btw.

    one day..


  4. ADORE this: "I like the idea that our lives leave eddies." Your verbal gift shines again.

  5. I love the pedestrian bridge, too. Like you, I always stop to look up and down the river. It feels like I've hit my refresh button. Life is good. I have not seen the ghost bike. Oh, and have they completed (or even started) the walkway that's going to cross over Cesar Chavez? I can't remember if I saw a completed picture - nah, it must have been the plans. I would remember the traffic snarl.

  6. Love your blog. And this post. which is of the idea. 'Look around and think about it, Then blog it'
    Great to read it.

  7. Lovely walkabout, which gives me a better idea of why people often talk about Austin as one of their favorite places in Texas. Thanks, Kathlee! x0 N2

  8. Missed the n in Kathleen, of course =o{...

  9. What a beautiful ode to the pedestrian bridge across Town Lake. The way you describe it, it isn't pedestrian at all!

  10. Very cool. I've driven through/around and never stopped. I will the next time.


  11. Weird city's rule.
    Portland, Or. even has a web site for promoting the weirdness through commerce.

  12. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and the great photos, Austin looks like a very nice place to me.
    Have a lovely weekend Kathleen.

    xoxoxo ♡

  13. Hi Coffeeyogurt, they're working now on the ped bridge over the street. When they've finished, it will be an easy shot to Whole Foods and breakfast tacos.

  14. I loved taking this walk with you -- I've only been to Austin once, but I did love it and hope to visit it again one day!

  15. As always, such a beautiful perspective and writing!

    By the way, you'll be in CTG's blog this week and a DVD of Wildflowers|Seeds of History will be on the way too. I can never thank you enough for jumping into this one.

  16. I never made it to Austin the summer I stayed in Texas with my Aunt and Uncle, but I sure do think I'd fit in there. Laugh. I remember reading Royce's story somewhere. What a damn shame, but I love the ghost-bike memorial.

    I love you too! You and Denny are VERY DEAR to me.


  17. Lovely! I've been wanting to visit for a long time, and your photos seal the deal!

  18. Hi Kathleen,

    Thank you ever so much for thinking of us bicyclists here in your post ["At about the mid-point of the bridge a Ghost-Bike is chained to the rail, a memorial to Royce Scott McCoy from his loving family, and a reminder to share the road."].

    Best regards,


  19. So that bridge is a monument for life and history, it's good that white bike is not removed there by anybody. And the graffiti just left alone. The idea of greening throught that spiral garden is also very good. ...and your boots with butterflies looks so beautiful too! haha.


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