This is on the Capital City Trail a little while after crossing Footscray. I started from Docklands — the day was cloudy with a hint of drizzle. On the way I passed crowds gathered in the parks along the stretch of the river, barbecuing, playing Frisbee, and all things joyful that weekends bring to us… Some men were fishing, hands steady as they whipped up their baits.

This wooden bridge adorned the Maribyrnong River, wide enough for families with children to cross without the fear of falling. I had set my timer on the phone to track my pace but here I stopped like a mendicant who had been offered food for the day. I can picture it now, tea from the flask warming my throat, eyes peeled for big, fat drops of rain. It did not rain right away — at first it was just a light patter of rain that started and stopped, sending the birds to seek temporary shelter. But then it started raining heavily, as if the clouds were keeping me from seeing whatever it was that they were concealing behind those cumulus folds…

There is something about the symmetry of a bridge in the middle of nowhere — it drew me to it, to pause here. It must be the incongruity of something manmade in the middle of otherwise untouched, quaint natural setting. Leaning my bike against the side, with my phone held horizontally, bringing the bridge into frame, I was asserting something like angular beauty. But the bridge by itself was nothing but a pavement of concrete, entrapped by a set of metal girders, evoking only the mundane, or boredom, or angst even… It was the surroundings that made the bridge stand out — the curving river, the clump of trees, the clouds overhead, and may be even the hint of a row of houses to one side. If not for all this the bridge in itself would have looked unworthy of any praise, may be even invited derision, such as the one I felt when I juxtaposed this same bridge in a very different setting — that it looked like a set of discarded false teeth from above…

A railway bridge runs across the river in the distance, just behind the tree. Since I began cycling, I had finished this trail three times already, before trying to go the other way around — to start from docklands and set off east towards south wharf, and along the Yarra River. I ended up landing in the Main Yarra Trail instead, like a time machine gone wrong… Ensnared, I cycled all the way till the end where it ended in dirt road. On the way, this track runs alongside the Yarra for most of the time, like a lovelorn teenager trying to earn the affection of this particular stream of water, pruning trees and kicking autumn leaves along the way…

By Peter Campbell — self-made, Nikon D80, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2800576

Fairfield boathouse can be seen, coming your way from a distance, smatterings of boats lolling on the surface of the river like on a child’s painting. This section of the river is skirted with rising land — from up here, the voices of those on the smallish boats sounded as if they were made from the other end of a closed pipe — an acoustic mystery, I told myself.

The stretch from Port Melbourne to Saint Kilda, all the way to Brighton Beach and beyond is perhaps the most inspiring — the men and women running along this stretch on any given day looking as determined to stay fit as that eagle that comes back to eat Prometheus’ liver, returning every single day — who can better that? Also, a beautiful setting, I must add — to one side, the sea with its secrets lurking inside, most of which it harbours till its end; to the other side, the webs of concrete with clear and sharp edges that bare all and perhaps more as they age, crumbling on their way to dust. I have cycled for a bit of both — leisure and fitness. I hope to keep at it. Melbourne is such a beautiful city, one cycling trail giving way to another, each new one infinitely more beautiful than the last one… For cyclists, the city of Melbourne is akin to a science teacher stumbling on experiments…

I had stopped writing for a while, just got back to it…| Living in Melbourne, Australia | From Hyderabad, India https://apkpublishers.com/?s=kranthi+askani

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