Bridges

I love bridges. I think they’re extremely beautiful. Especially if they are a good traditional arched structure. There is something very perfect about an arched bridge spanning a river, or a valley. And I’m not alone. Some of the famous bridges of the world have been the mainstay of photographers and artists for years. Like The famous Bixley Creek Bridge on the Californian coast.

Or what about the stunning bridge by the Multnomah Falls in Oregon?

I could pop hundreds of examples in here – I’ll just include some of the most iconic bridges around the world.

Glenfinnan Viaduct, Scotland
Rialto Bridge, Venice
Sydney Harbour Bridge, Australia

So what is it about bridges that appeals so much to me as an artist? It is their shape, certainly. Bridges have always offered architects and builders scope to merge utility and structural integrity with beauty. There are some stunning examples of more modern bridge construction. But that’s not the only reason I fall for them (not off them – that’s entirely different!)

I think it’s because of their potential. Or the potential they represent. They span distances which would be otherwise difficult to cross – either because of roads, height, or water. They enable you simply to get from one place to the other side with little difficulty. But it’s the idea of the other side which is especially enticing.

You see, for me, bridges open up new landscapes to explore. Who knows what lies on the other side? The only way to know is to cross the bridge. Now, it may be that what is on the other side is unexciting, or even unpleasant. But until one crosses the bridge, one will never know. And the fear of the unknown should not stop us from taking those steps over the bridge. Because, who knows? Maybe the land on the other side of the bridge is hugely exciting, full of opportunities and experiences you wouldn’t otherwise have known.

In that sense, bridges can be seen as a metaphor for life itself – certainly for the decisions which face us as we go through life. Will I stick with this job I no longer love because it’s what I know, or will I give the door a push to see where it may lead? Will I content myself with what has gone before, or will I walk forward into an unknown future. Star Trek VI is called “The Undiscovered Country”. I’d never heard of that term before I saw the film quite some years ago. But I think it’s an apt description for the future. No one knows what the future holds, and we could wrap ourselves up and hide from ever facing it, or we could boldly go and see what the new landscape will open up to our eyes. I know what I’d prefer to do. And that’s what bridges mean to me.

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