A bridge too far

The tiny triangle in the stone wall points to a bridge in the far distance

I didn’t realise there was a bridge out there, high on the fellside above Sparty Lea, until I inspected this photograph more closely. When I finally clocked it, it reminded me of the little stock bridge down at the bottom, over Swinhope Burn, that also carries the telephone line for our cottages. That bridge safeguards our constant connection to the outside. That bridge connects you and me. But the bridge in the photograph is, in reality, a bridge too far.

I shall probably never actually visit that one. I don’t think that matters, in the grand scheme of things, but more and more I’m making peace with the realisation that there are things that I shall never do. On the other hand, I’m making some inroads towards completing the things that I do mean to accomplish.

These are slightly morbid thoughts though, aren’t they? I blame the bridge far off in the distance, for any hint of mournfulness today. Bridges are such a great metaphor. Carrying us from one state of being to another. Both physically and literally, they do their job. I loved the living root bridges in this week’s (Episode 5) Green Planet, which bring a whole new dimension to bridge metaphors. Living longevity, and getting stronger with each passing year.

Today, healthy and happy, I’m looking for, and finding, joy at every turn, without, I hope, over-sentimentalising the experience. As my brother in Philadelphia notes, it is what it is. And if the joy is there without adding in a rosey tint, then that’s even better, a straight reality. My other brother, working in the snow in Ontario’s near north, is finding joy in harvesting firewood, creating a wooden path over a boggy bit of muskeg, and in hard physical exercise with friendly mates. Maybe today I shall find some joy in trimming another section of hedge, or in adding some crucial science scenes to my science fiction trilogy. Earlier this morning, after four attempts with not one correct placement, I managed a final complete row of green in the daily Wordle: oh small epiphany!

Life is an incredible blessing, until it’s gone. And, for now, that crossing really is a bridge too far.

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