Section 140 stumbles upon the fringes of time
As he sat in the cabriolet drinking from his ubiquitous flask of coffee, Vernon felt numb and his thoughts turned without his consent to the nonsense filter. Its ‘invention’ had caused nothing but nonsense to spring from every nook and cranny of his life. So much for Anselm’s dictat that something is better if it exists in re as well as in intellectu; the nonsense filter was all in his mind yet its fallout was contaminating reality all around him. More than ever he needed to visit that bridge, he needed to bring to this trek a positive climax.
He started up the car and worried at a bar of chocolate like a spoilt rat. It took him some frustrated moments but eventually he found his way by a circuitous route to where the Humber bridge began; Hessle. The anchorage of the massive structure was situated in a wooded conservation area on the Northern end of the great span; gingerly he skirted a severe landslide, caused by recent rain, which had made some of the paths impassable. Emerging from a narrow footpath Vernon came out unexpectedly onto the banks of the river Humber. A beige swell which somehow evoked the unsettling mirage of pulsating and restless desert sands.
The vast open sky formed a luminescent ceiling. Though the expectant air was heavy with moisture the occasional break in the cloud cover brought unseasonably hot flushes of sunshine. The elements seemed to be in competition now, the sun contending with capriciously high winds, and their primitive contribution called forth the primordial awe of a prehistoric encounter. The bridge, if not a dinosaur, then a god. Vernon felt himself transported trancelike into the brooding presence of some monolithic Industrial demigod. His suggestive and restive mind discerned another gargantuan contest underway; the breadth of the river, so dramatic from ground level, seemed to present an incessant challenge to the audacity of the bridge and its wilful super-human attempt to span nature’s boundary.
Suddenly he came to his senses and looked around furtively. Had he voiced any of this naturalist epiphany? Vernon recalled that he had read somewhere that a suspension bridge was preferred because the navigable channel for watercraft kept changing. He’d read that it had evolved out of a design used initially for the Severn Bridge near Bristol, and that the original idea of a tunnel had been rejected as too expensive. Still the emotively primordial vision persisted and he preferred to think instead that this serpentine river needed another behemoth to tame it and the solution had evolved from that necessity. It was as if he had stumbled upon the struggle to the death between a giant lizard and a colossal snake. The legs beneath the belly of the beast, onshore and in shallows, carried an awesome weight. The graceful arch of its back was incongruous with a structure so solid. Like a time traveller he had trespassed onto the territory of Humbersaurus Rex.