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October 17, 2021

A Bridge to Span the Tide

... as many times you've heard me express, this is one of my most favorite places in the entire world ... here, for me, "was" and "is" and "to be" merge to become a timeless "now" ...


   ... john and i arrived as the sun was rising, this season aligned with the distant bend in the stream ...
... ever so slowly day arrived in the valley ...
... mysterious, and, as i said, timeless, as if my eyes were gazing into any moment in the twelve-thousand years since the glaciers retreated from this landscape ...
... for forty-plus years i have been searching for the perfect vantage ... this is a quick snapshot, but one which left me feeling i am making progress ...
... no matter the number of times i've seen it, a hue that always brings me to smile ... 

... to the left, a boulder eroded from ancient strata, millions and millions of years old, while to the right a similarly aged rock, both sculpted to these shapes by ice and water within the past twelve thousand years, geologically "recent" times ... 

... according to documentation, using cables manufactured in england because there was no such production yet established in america the wire bridge was constructed over one and one-half centuries ago, just after the civil war ... local oral tradition has it that it went up twenty years earlier ... here survives evidence that the bridge was a function of the industry of its time ... 
... one winter i drove up to witness the huge ice floes that had jammed to within mere inches of the wooden deck supports ... knowing that if the ice rose higher the bridge would be swept away, the national guard was present, prepared with explosive charges to take a huge risk by attempting to blast away the ice ... luckily, and, i'm sure, with great sighs of relief, nature allowed that the bridge's time hadn't yet ended ...
... i've witnessed far greater loads traversing the span, so the bridge must be much stronger than its posted design capacity ...
An old man, going a lone highway,
Came at the evening cold and gray
To a chasm vast and deep and wide
Through which was flowing a swollen tide.
The old man crossed in the twilight dim;
The rapids held no fears for him.
But he turned when safe on the other side
And built a bridge to span the tide.

“Old man,” cried a fellow pilgrim near,
“You’re wasting your time in building here.
Your journey will end with the closing day;
You never again will pass this way.
You have crossed the chasm deep and wide;
Why build you this bridge at even-tide?”

The builder lifted his old gray head.
“Good friend, in the path I have come,” he said,
“There follows after me today
A youth whose feet must pass this way.
This stream, which has been as naught to me,
To that fair youth may a pitfall be.
He too must cross in the twilight dim —
Good friend, I am building this bridge for him.”

 ... as i said, timeless ...