A bridge to nowhere, or somewhere?

Woodson Suspension Bridge over the Clear Fork of the Brazos River, Shackelford County

I am sometimes reminded that life is like an old bridge. It has structure and form, a path and direction, and varying methods of support, aesthetics, damage, and repairs. In traveling, we may have obstacles in our path, whether overgrown trees or buckling road treads or even holes through which we can fall.

Rolf Gates said “…only by shining a spotlight on the obstacles in the path can we see the path itself” (2002, p. 148). John Cougar Mellencamp said, “Future generations, riding on the highways that we built, I hope they have a better understanding” (Check It Out, 1987).

There are times when rather than shine the spotlight on the obstacles in order to see the path (for there is a path around or over those obstacles as long as we do not trip nor drop through them), we just try to pretty them up instead.

It does not mean there is not still an obstacle that will glare at us if we shine the spotlight. Otherwise, we run the risk of our bridge (and our life) deteriorating around us whilst we are in the middle of traveling.

Credit: Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, HAER TX, 209-ALBA. V, 1-18, 1-20, and 1-24.

This cable suspension bridge constructed 1896 was one of seven surviving pre-1940 bridges in Texas in 2012. In 1995, the Texas Senate passed a resolution directed to the TX Department of Transportation to restore and maintain the bridge. The 1996 study was apparently the end of the effort to preserve the bridge as it was still deteriorating in 2012.

Like our decision to shine the spotlight on obstacles in our lives, or not, we humans do have choices. The bridge itself has to depend on those following their builders “to have a better understanding.” When one considers how difficult it would have been to build this bridge that even in deteriorated condition is still standing 125 years later, perhaps it symbolizes perseverance and hopefulness. After all, we do not reach a point where we no longer have to shine the spotlight on the obstacles, no matter how long it might take to do something about them.

This entry was posted in Brazos River, Bridges, Clear Fork, Country Philosophy, Shackelford County, Texas and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to A bridge to nowhere, or somewhere?

  1. Suzannah Patterson says:

    If you are ever in south Mississippi, you can view a similar iron bridge in Marion County, ten miles south of Columbia. I remember as a child when the school board decided the school buses probably should start bypassing it. Must have been about 1960.


    • Suzassippi says:

      Thanks for the heads up, Suzannah! I drove hours to get to bridges in Texas, surely I can manage one in Columbia. I have wanted to spend time there to photograph some buildings.


  2. Betty says:

    I have always had a fear of bridges. Not that it ever stopped me from crossing. I used to compare our community college to a bridge. It’s scary to cross, but it can take one new places. I do not want to cross the bridge in the post, even with a light. I appreciate your post which allows me to view these interesting bridges – from afar. Nice analogy with life, too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Suzassippi says:

      Thank you, Betty, for sharing this story. I have crossed some scary bridges, like the one in Peacock, Texas, where my every boot step rang out with the sound of metal like a bell clang. I agree about community colleges; they are amazing, and I am proud to have started my journey as an educator in a community college. As you have said, we do not all have to like the same things–that is what makes us value each other to me.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Beth says:

    Lovely analogy!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: A bridge to nowhere, or somewhere? ā€” Suzassippi’s Lottabusha County Chronicles | Ups Downs Family History

  5. peggy says:

    Nice post. I have crossed a lot of bridges in my life – some with many holes in their old boards. Some quite scary, but conquered. Nice analogy for sure.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. socialbridge says:

    Ah Suz, a perfect post!

    Liked by 1 person

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