From the One Way Bridge

On my way to Silversmithing the other morning I caught a glimpse of a little red boat in the distance as we crossed the single-lane bridge on Madinnagoda Road.  I wasn’t surprised, of course – scenes of rural tranquility abound in several parts of the city, and are a large part of its charm.

From the One Way Bridge 1

Kotte, south-east of the new settlement of Colombo, was the last lowland kingdom to fall to the Portuguese at the end of the 16th century.  Radiating out from its hilly knoll, it was a place of lakes and waterways shimmering in the tropical sun, its people going about their lives as they had for centuries, living from the bounty of a bounteous land.  Until even recently this whole section of the map comprised a series of villages and farms carved from the surrounding jungle.  My friend Mo recounts how she and her siblings followed in the wake of their machete-weilding father as he hacked a path through the jungle to the prized block of land he had procured in the newly opened township of Rajagiriya.

To avoid the mayhem of the morning traffic from modern-day Kotte, and the new suburbs around Parliament and Rajagiriya, I usually take the back roads to class, passing a banana farm and a pepper garden on my way down to the river – the same river that feeds the lakes surrounding Parliament, and provides still-verdant views for the new luxury highrise apartment buildings that are beginning to rise, like great, white teeth, along the water’s edge.

My teacher’s house is just a few lanes beyond the bridge, and since I was early, for a change, I walked back up the road to take some pictures in the relative cool before class began.

From the One Way Bridge 7

Thanks Jake, for the excuse to post this further glimpse of rural life in the city as part of my ongoing series – “The Quintessential Sri Lanka”.

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33 thoughts on “From the One Way Bridge

  1. A touch of Monet in those lilly pads, maybe? The photos really give a sense that it would be possible to look at the play of light on water forever and never tire of it.

    • The thing about looking is that we need change to capture our attention for any length of time – as long as the light keeps changing, we could sit there on the bridge, on the river bank and just look. I drove back across a few days later, when the sun was overhead and all the delight had been washed out.

  2. It’s nice when I find myself in a climate where water lilies grow naturally, as those do in your shot above. Like seing that first palm tree, it means I’m far from home and, hopefully, on holiday. Thanks for sharing these photos and increasing my knowledge of Sri Lanka, such a beautiful island to call home.

  3. Great images, and also wonderful thoughts that rural and urban can co-exist. In many places this co-existence has been lost and will never be regained, and in others progress is being made to re-establish a balance. Better to never lose it. The peacefulness in the images is palpable, especially in the last Image, that I feel like I could step into.

  4. serene, yet troubling when we hear how quickly change is encroaching on the jungle (everywhere), thanks for showing us these timeless scenes 🙂 when do we see some silvercraft??

    • Well, two more classes to go – maybe I’ll have enough for a little post after that! I did make a pair of earrings last week that I quite like, so that was pretty exciting, but the ring I made the week before needs something … 🙂

        • Yes, you can melt it back and start again, though each time you do it becomes less malleable. I’m learning that the thing to do is to put the unsuccessful pieces aside till another time and wait for inspiration – or new techniques, in my case – come to your rescue! We’re only working on one piece at a time now, which is inefficient and a bit of a creative straight jacket, I think. I’m looking forward to taking it up properly when I’ve got myself settled back in Oz.

  5. Such wonderfully tranquil scenes! Wouldn’t have guessed these are in the middle of a city if you hadn’t mentioned it. I love the header in particular.

    • Really – you’re right, which is why I included a shot with a modern building rising in the distance. I wonder how long it will be before they replace the one lane bridge with a new one, and put a road along the river so the ‘rich’ people can build their ‘McMansions’ on the water?

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