Saturday, June 13, 2009
I've been thinking about bridges today. bridges over water, bridges over deep gullies and valleys, suspension bridges, floating bridges, metal bridges, rough wooden bridges, bridges simply connecting one thing to another.
I love walking over bridges, leaning on and looking out over bridges, and of course, riding across bridges. I love the bay bridge, get a kick out of riding on the dumbarton bridge mere feet above the lapping water, and even love the challenge of crossing a hanging bridge over a deep crevasse.
bridges fascinate me (to be honest, so do many things): I often look at them and try to imagine the construction process, and am completely baffled. how do they get from point A to point B across a 400 foot deep chasm? across a 300 foot deep body of water? I picture a cartoon construction crew, building each new foot forward then hovering on that to build the next foot across, and on and on until they reach the other side . . .
I know better, but my mind still creates ridiculous scenarios based on my childhood understanding of construction which I learned from wooden blocks and my brother's erector set.
and I don't really want to know all the details of bridge building.
it's enough that they bring me joy to look at, to be on, to cross.
and sometimes, to reach the other side.
bridges are so much more, but at heart they are simply a transition from one spot to another. some of us are fortunate enough to commute across them day after day, transported magically across whatever the challenge may be ~ water or simply great space ~ while others of us cross the simple road-over-road type, and still others cross metaphorical ones each day to leave one world and enter another.
they can also transition us from one phase of life to another. in this capacity they are often longer and more fraught with peril and frustration that those we physically encounter. they may span years and seeming lifetimes, and the end point may seem too distant to ever be visible.
but they do end. and we can leave them with regret or with great rejoicing. or with any mix of emotions along the spectrum between the two.
they may have been suspension bridges, keeping us high and dry and safe, or those floating bridges barely keeping us above water. or hanging bridges that sway and toss us from side to side, unsettled, unsteady and unsure.
regardless, they perform their function, and move us slowly but surely to whatever is next.
because as beautiful or comforting the view from standing on the middle and looking out may be, we must eventually continue our journeys and have the courage to advance across to the other end. via foot, via bicycle, or even with the help of a motor, we eventually cross and enter the new beginning awaiting us.