Home Photo Essays An Incident at Lick Brook Trestle

An Incident at Lick Brook Trestle

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All photos by Frankie14850 Copyright All rights reserved

Tiny Town, USA – It's not really Lick Brook Trestle. The Norfolk and Southern Rail Road crosses Cayuga Inlet tributary at the lower "illegal" entrance to Lick Brook, a large gully and nature preserve with three major falls that comprise a sweet interval on the Finger Lakes Trail. Illegal because you have to traverse the trestle to get to it, or cross the tracks from the north.

N&S cops are mostly in Philly, so it will take a while to arrest and prosecute. And they are notoriously bad shots, so chances are you'll make it alive. 

When a train derailed and hundreds of gallons of diesel killed the inlet back in the 1990s, the folks at N&S blamed a beaver dam for washing out the track. This was handy bull shit and the Department of Environmental Conversation backed them up. We've spoken with the DEC in the past and they take a dim view of the return of beaver to the area. One might say they have a vendetta against beaver. The man we interviewed vaguely resembled the mammal and this explained his otherwise irrational discourse on the impact of beaver resurgence on New York's economy. We ought to have checked around back of him for a paddle-tail but he was seated and probably had it tucked under his ass to hide his head.

The N&S bastards came up here with rifles to dispatch the beaver. According to one witness, a land owner whose property bordered the rails, it took 17 shots from one rifleman to dispatch a single beaver. 

You'd think these guys, being from Philly, would have sharpened their skills firing at rats or beer cans. Only excess of beer can explain such poor marksmanship.

A curse on them all. The inlet has not, and most likely will not, recover. 

We don't want to say too much more about Lick Brook -- or how to get there. The fewer people that know of it, the better. 

The trestle has served the coal and salt industries well, enduring daily runs of up to 102 gondolas stuffed with materials dredged and scoured outta the guts of earth and spent in various ways that serve humankind well; nature, from whom we are estranged, less well.

The trestle also serves as an installation and exhibit for graffiti created by some of the most talented vandals from our Tiny Town environs.  The stencil skulls on the north facing stanchion are incredibly well done. Other images are less complete and less interesting with the exception of the face shedding tears or teeth on the south facing stanchion. With the rivet heads on opposing sides of the flat steel girder, the effect is that of a film strip, given a little imagination.

Some of the rivet head placements resemble Braille. Which makes for a silly: "I been working on the Braille-road." We'll stop there. 

But the bridge itself is the real artwork. Study it closely and the mind wanders off-screen and, as happens around old things that still stand and function, you can take a little ride back in time right there, in your own time.

Upon your return, there is the creek washing memory away and if it is summer and warm, creosote and rust and green to inhale. 

Place a lucky penny on the rail and wade through the meadow into the wood. 

– C. Penbroke Handy 

To view more of this photographer's work, visit www.flickr.com/photos/frankie14850/

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Last Updated on Friday, 04 September 2009 11:43  

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