This morning while I was out on my bike I noticed a wooden bridge on the front lawn of a house. I’ve seen this bridge before, but for some reason it really struck me this morning. I can’t decide if I like it or not. Because I want to like the bridge, simply because I like bridges, I find them romantic, especially wooden bridges. But this bridge, which is about three or four feet long with a small arch is randomly placed in a front yard. It doesn’t, as far as I can see provide a necessary path, there are no flowers that adorn the bridge, it simply is. And it goes nowhere. If you cross the bridge, you are on the other side, but still pretty much in the same space. This caused a moment of dissonance in my brain as I chugged up the hill, the bridge to my right. A bridge should lead you somewhere, carry you over to a new destination. This bridge was simply there. And although I know it is ornamental, the randomness of it in the center of the front yard, with no other embellishments to affirm it’s decorative identity bugs me.
I wanted to find the poetry in the bridge like all roads really lead home, but that seemed somehow trite and didn’t do the bridge justice. I thought about the analogy to my own life, that very moment, as I bike around and around the neighborhood going nowhere, knowing I am going nowhere but still going. And always returning home. And then, maybe because I still had a few miles to go, or maybe because I had been biking for about forty five minutes at that point, I went deeper. I thought about all the work I put into training four years ago, and here I was back at the very beginning. All of the hours on the bike, running and in the gym, achieving a certain level of fitness only to return to where I started. Miles and miles gone by to be simply where I started. Another bridge to nowhere.
But bridges are also connectors, bringing together two separate spaces. Except this bridge didn’t need to connect anything, the space was already whole. I again thought about how I had come so far only to be back where I started. But I also thought about how all the biking and running helped me to connect to myself. The time in the morning that I take and hold for just me. No one benefits from this, but me. It is my selfish time. As an introvert it helps to get me through a day so often filled with people. It is my bridge to me, my bridge to nowhere. It takes me back to me.
This morning I did twelve miles on my bike in a little over an hour. I spent the last twenty minutes more or less thinking about beginnings, going home and connections. I thought about all the work to achieve something and then losing it. I thought about starting over and going nowhere. And I thought about home and what that means. I thought about all of this because of that bridge to nowhere.