Sunday, November 9, 2014

Wilbo Visits a Place in Muskegon Where Those Who Have No Where to Go Huddle and Cling.

Places exist where people go where there's no where to go. If one is compassionate, a visit to one of these "ends of the earth" reveals insight into human conditions. In May of 2014, a man was waiting under the bridge over the middle branch of the Muskegon River. He was waiting for 3:10 PM, the time when one of only two Greyhound buses leaves Muskegon for Grand Rapids and points beyond. He confessed to have slept on blankets a woman had given him on the journey south from Hart Michigan. He had bought a cheap, awkward bicycle and kept pedaling until he reached the Muskegon River.

He was planning on leaving the blankets at the bus station for he had a nice enough home in Bay City. He had traveled to Hart because a man had promised him a job and a hotel room in Oceana County, a job constructing houses. The room was awful, the job a bit too much like wage slavery and the pay slow in coming. So he gave up, bought a cheap bicycle, and he pedaled for a day to reach Muskegon. He had some money after settling his wages in cash, taking dollars on the saw buck, almost working for free for a month.

He was relieved when a local told him the right time for the bus. Showing up at Five PM would have meant arriving at a locked, empty bus station, another night hiding in a covered place.

A pile of damp clothing lies in the weeds, men's furnishings to warm sweat pants to tee shirts with odd logos that one only finds in Salvation Army resale shops, the bottom of the barrel. One wonders if a camper, maybe a leftover from Electric Forest this summer, had been shooed off and had no opportunity to claim his bag of clothing.

Even the animals prefer the under chamber beneath this bridge. Either beavers or muskrats have built a mound of cattail wattles in the shallows of the Muskegon River. So far, no sign of swimming animals in the eddy show. The thick stand of cattails are brown in the blade now. The part that looks like a brown sausage has the name, "inflorescence", and the fluffiness still clings tightly together. Wonder if the Redwing Blackbirds who had made Spring nests in the dense cover of blades still have a presence in the marsh this November.

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