Tag Archives: family

The Burning of Mulberry Bridge

Small towns spring up in the craziest places sometimes.  Often the reason is forgotten.  Someone may have travelled to a point and given up.  They may have made a camp and just never left.  The area might have been really nice or just nice enough to not care about wanting more.  Maybe it wasn’t nice at all.  They were just stuck there.

No one gets to choose where they were born.  No one gets to choose their family.  Some people will go through their life with no thought towards this issue.

Somewhere in the eastern United States, two bridges stood far apart over a muddy river.  One bridge, Mulberry Bridge, was wooden and old.  It was worn down, creaking; it could barely support a passing car.  The other bridge was new, concrete and steel.  It was built for bad weather; meant to last for many years.  The two were polar opposites.  Built for similar purposes, they had completely different types of destinations.  One was built in haste, the other with dedication.

Mulberry Bridge connected a family to the rest of the world.  It was the only way onto their property.  They were fierce about their land, even plotting against one another for it.  They had no idea that no one else cared to own it.  They didn’t even realize that no one visited.  They all lived in the happy bliss of ignorance.  The show Days of Our Lives, could take notes from them, these masters of puppetry and oratory arts.  They plotted and schemed, ostracizing those that went against the grain.

The old bridge connected them to reality, jutting up to a major highway.  People passed the bridge, wondering why no one would fix it.  Can’t they at least put some paint on it, replace the railing, or try to make the sides match in height?  No, no one was ever going to fix that bridge.  It was the monument to the lives of those living on the opposite side.  Decaying, rotting at the stanchions; it surely couldn’t stand for long?  It could; it was in that shape years ago, longer than anyone could remember.  Mulberry Bridge had been standing on its last leg for decades.  A sane person wouldn’t attempt to drive across it.  The boards that ran the length, two strips just for tire guides, looked like they were not even nailed down.  Some bent upwards, making it impossible to drive quickly.

The wood of the bridge was so old that it powdered on the running boards.  The pillar legs looked fossilized.  Debris was stuck in the stanchions; left from some rain that caused the water to rise that high.  The river below, slowly creeping, didn’t have a history of fishing quality.  Alligator gar infested the waters, along with some small brim.  The banks were steep with broken portions of sandstone extending out; shelves for the turtles and snakes; cluttered brush and debris with random trash.

The bridge up the river, made by a single man, was newly erected.  The bridges were not close together; you couldn’t see one from the other.  They were only close enough to each other to know of the others existence.  The concrete bridge was wide, built solid and superbly tested.  It was engineered for longevity.  Trials on many types of bridges had been conducted by military engineers for centuries.  Their knowledge and applied science went into the construction of this testament to the will of man.  This bridge wasn’t going anywhere.

There would be no legacy of Mulberry Bridge.  Though it stood through many trials and tribulations, its boards absorbing all of the trauma and history around it; the days were numbered from the start.  It only took one spark.  One loss and the whole bridge went up in flames.  It burned for hours, until nothing was left; only scorched earth on each embankment.  The man that made the concrete bridge, once being part of the troubled family passed Mulberry Bridge, burned the decrepit bridge, locking the fools in.  They were now on their own, alone.  What goes around, surely comes back around.  This time, Mulberry Bridge will never be rebuilt; the concrete bridge will forget that there was ever another option to cross.  The eye sore will not be missed by those that passed by on their daily errands.  It will be forgotten, lost to time like so many things before it.

The bridges are only a connection, from one thing to another.  We put them in place to make things convenient, to travel; but roads go both ways.  When no one travels a certain direction, there no longer needs to be a bridge; there is no connection.  It takes effort and work to maintain a bridge, a connection.  If two cities are connected by a bridge, which one pays for it?  It should be both, but that isn’t the reality of the world.  It isn’t the reality of families, of parents, of friends.  Will someone will always pay more? You don’t have to.

 

 

Photo  courtesy of: https://www.flickr.com/photos/28003761@n02/10527553094

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Given Hands

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I have spent a lot of time tracing the scars on my hands. I can remember most of them for good or bad. The shade of skin tells me how old. The numbness tells me how bad the damage was at the time. Have you ever caught yourself staring at your hands? They are the maps to our past; roadways written in scars. When we make a fist, we can remember when we had to use it. We can remember if we shook someone’s hand; awkwardly accepting them. We gage how a situation has affected us by the shaking of our hands from fear. I was taught at a young age to expect to make my way in life by the strength of my hands.

When I was young, my grandfather talked about what he could do with his hands. He was a big man built to run a farm; big arms burst sleeves of his uniform; big hands gripped handles to build fence. He taught me how to be a mechanic. I quickly learned how to bust my knuckles with a wrench. I spent a lot of time passing him tools and watching his hands go to work.

His generation knew what it meant to use their hands. They built cities, settled disputes, made friends, and waged war with their hands. Respect was given with a salute. A hand shake meant an oath. A fist was formed to stop a fight, not start one. A slap on the shoulder was a sign of good work. Identity for each person was found in the finger tips.

Today is different. Hands are not sacred anymore. Now everyone believes in words; words they hear or words they say. Words mean nothing in passing. Actions are the only things that matter. Actions are put into motion by hands. Written word is created by hands. To speak does not make you bold; to ramble does not make you wise; to blurt does not make you exciting, but you can hold someone; that makes you strong. You can tie a child’s shoe. You can throw a dog a ball. You can ask for a wrench from a young child, and show them what you are about to fix. Be that change in life.

Faith is seen in the form of praying hands; the hands that toil. Even the faithless are linked to us by their hands. Bound, we are tied together on this plane. Hand in hand, we walk the path. Remember your hands the next time you feel down. Use them to pull yourself back up. Reach for the things that words cannot describe. Latch on to life and point your own direction.