Sunday Stills: Bridges (Symbols, Troubles and River Crossings)

I remember many bridges from all over the world, some of them architectural masterpieces. I loved that massive, medieval stone bridge in Heidelberg, Germany. The locals called it simply “Alte Bruecke” (Old Bridge) to differentiate it from the more modern bridges over the Neckar River. I saw the Brooklyn Bridge in New York, the Chesapeake Bay Bridge in Maryland, the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. Yet, I don’t have many pictures of famous bridges in digital format. Instead, I found mostly images of modest, practical little bridges with just a few bigger ones from more recent trips sprinkled in.

Some bridges are very humble, barely off the ground, quickly but efficiently constructed to keep your feet dry and prevent you from getting stuck in a boggy area.

Foot bridge over bog

Foot bridge over bog

This little pleasure bridge allows access to a tiny island floating in a lotus pond. It seems more like an ephemeral gesture, a gentleman’s invitation to his lady: “Will you come away with me for the afternoon, to our little hideaway?”

Little red bridge

Little red bridge

A small wooden bridge crosses a tiny stream one could easily jump over. More whimsy than necessity, the bridge adds elegance to a village backyard.

Backyard bridge in winter

Backyard bridge in winter

A footbridge over a wide river takes you to little known woodland trails winding through rare wildflower territory:

Walking bridge

Walking bridge

Venturing out to the big city, Washington DC, I was struck by this impressive pillar supporting a large bridge in the Georgetown section of DC.

Georgetown bridge detail

Georgetown bridge detail

A more modest bridge crossing a smaller river connects to a tunnel in Rock Creek Park, DC:

Rock Creek Park

Rock Creek Park

In the Scottish Highlands, one can admire the Culloden Viaduct, an 1800-feet long railway bridge spanning the Nairn River valley:

Culloden Viaduct

Culloden Viaduct

A bulky stone bridge crossing a walking path, near Forres, Scotland, would likely never win a beauty contest but serves its purpose in a humble manner:

Bridge over footpath

Bridge over footpath

The bridge crossing the (now waterless) moat around Urqhart Castle on the shores of Loch Ness serves as a time machine that leads the visitor into a time and space many centuries removed from today’s world.

Urqhart Castle

Urqhart Castle

What do bridges symbolize?

They represent connection and contact between two worlds; they provide a means to transition into another experience.
Certain individuals are bridges or mediators between warring people (think divorce mediators or peace envoys), or between people who try to understand each other across different languages and cultures. Bilingual (or multi-lingual) people and many bi-racial people fall into the category of cultural mediators; they are capable of shifting their mindset back and forth between two or more languages and ways of being in the world.

Psychics are considered bridges between this physical world and other worlds.

Pets become bridges for their humans – walking your dog is often the easiest way to start a conversation with a stranger.

A marriage provides a bridge or new connection between two different families, as does a new baby.

When we dream of bridges, it often signifies that we are moving into new territory or that we are connecting two previously separate aspects of our life.

As I am writing this, the well-known song “Bridge over Troubled Water” by Simon & Garfunkel keeps playing in my head. We surely have a lot of troubled waters in our lives: climate change, unemployment, poverty, crime, illiteracy, disease, mental illness, huge inequalities within and between countries. We need a lot of bridges across these wide streams of troubled waters.

And yet another song pops in my mind:  “Many Rivers to Cross” by Jimmy Cliff

Many rivers to cross
But I can’t seem to find my way over
Wandering I am lost
As I travel along the white cliffs of dover

Many rivers to cross
And it’s only my will that keeps me alive
I’ve been licked, washed up for years
And I merely survive because of my pride

And this loneliness won’t leave me alone
It’s such a drag to be on your own
My woman left me and she didn’t say why
Well, I guess I’ll have to cry

Many rivers to cross
But just where to begin I’m playing for time
There have been times I find myself
Thinking of committing some dreadful crime

Yes, I’ve got many rivers to cross
But I can’t seem to find my way over
Wandering, I am lost
As I travel along the white cliffs of Dover

Yes, I’ve got many rivers to cross
And I merely survive because of my will…

Thank goodness for all the bridges and bridge builders in this world.  We’d be lost without them.

This post was created in response to the Sunday Stills Challenge: Bridges.

About Beauty Along the Road

My name is Annette. I am passionate about nature, health, simplicity, self-reliance, truth, and life-long learning. Originally from Germany, I now live in Virginia, USA. I am a therapist, health coach, writer, photographer, and organic gardener.
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20 Responses to Sunday Stills: Bridges (Symbols, Troubles and River Crossings)

  1. Beautiful pictures, love the picture of Urqhart Castle.😉

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  2. Great pics for the challenge, Annette. I love the little backyard bridge in the snow.🙂

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  3. Barneysday says:

    Love the bridges and the stories behind them. Great theme

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  4. cindy knoke says:

    awesome pictoral story! loved it~

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  5. lollastewart says:

    Oh thank you so much for that meditation, Annette. Lolla

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

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  6. Beautiful collection of bridges, big and small.

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  7. Tom K says:

    Wonderful! Thanks for sharing.

    Tom The Backroads Traveller

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  8. A lovely collection of bridges, of course I love the Scottish ones🙂
    I also love your thoughts on bridges as symbols.

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    • Thanks, Seonaid, I knew you’d be partial to the Scottish bridges🙂
      I just realized that I mistreated the Sunday Stills theme – it’s supposed to be one picture and no words. Ha…failed miserably there, but I did enjoy doing this Bridge post and it sort of took on a life of its own…..

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  9. avinit123 says:

    So glad I stumbled upon your blog! Very interesting topic, and quite beautifully written!

    Like

  10. Henry G L says:

    Beautiful shots, especially the 1st one, it tops with the simplicity🙂. The scotland castle was one of the most beautiful places i ever visited. Well done.

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