When my children were young and sassy teens, they often recited a line to their siblings, whose noses got out of joint over some disagreement, and that saying always caused me to snicker to myself.
Cry me a river, build me a bridge, and get over it.
I laughed because that’s how I felt too. Get over it. There will always be some disparity, some disappointment, some dispute, some deviation from the easy path you wish you had. But instead of crying your eyes out, you just have to build that bridge over troubled waters, buck up, and get over it.
I have to admit that when the good Lord handed out the quality of being merciful and empathetic, I may have skipped Sunday School that day.
But before you judge me too harshly for that, let me share that often the one I show the least mercy to is…myself. Far too often in life I’ve found myself self-admonishing to stop crying an ever-flowing river, commence bridge building, and get over those grievances that cause me anger and anguish.
But the difficult part about building bridges is this – it takes two sides. A one-sided bridge won’t get you anywhere, unless you fall off the abrupt edge and drop kerplunk into the river below. A real downer if you can’t swim.
And if the other side of the river bank just doesn’t cooperate and reach across the span of the abyss to meet you in the middle, well then, where are you? A bridge to nowhere.
Okay, sometimes I surprise myself with how my quirky mind works when I open my email inbox and find the current weekly photo challenge. And this week’s theme – bridge – is no different. Bridge building came to my mind.
I didn’t have to search long or hard for a bridge photo in my cache. I have many because I live in an area with lots of bridges over creeks and rivers, several right here in and near my hometown and further down the river in the big city.
So just in case you happen to live where bridges are few and far between, let me bridge the gap for you with my pictures. I vacillated back and forth while choosing which photo to use for this challenge, so I may share more bridge photos tomorrow on my Wordless Wednesday post.
Bridges. Papa and I crossed a lot of them on our recent vacation, particularly on our journey through New York’s Hudson River Valley, in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and on our way home traveling north of New York City.
On our first day of vacation we stopped along the Hudson River in New York state to see West Point Military Academy and toured its museum to satisfy my former Army man husband and history buff.
Afterwards, we crossed the Mid-Hudson Bridge to locate a spot where we could catch a nice view of the military academy from across the river and I could snap a few photos. By accident, we also found a small, shady, secluded park where we ate a quiet picnic lunch as we had the entire park to ourselves.
Driving back across the bridge again, we traveled northward to Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park, which is a 19th century railroad bridge converted into the world’s longest elevated pedestrian park. That’s where I captured the photo above.
So we not only traversed the Hudson by car, but we also crossed it on foot via that span from Poughkeepsie to Highland, NY, which is 1.28 miles in length one way. We encountered some beautiful views from that bridge and I was able to capture several nice pictures of the river and the vehicle bridge downriver from it.
Back and forth across bridges we journeyed. Easy peasy. Now if we could just transport ourselves over bridges with people as effortlessly as it is to drive or walk over steel and concrete bridges, maybe we could actually make progress.
“Don’t burn bridges. You’ll be surprised how many times you have to cross the same river.” ~ H. Jackson Brown Jr., American author
Images captured while speeding down a highway. Road signs proclaiming their welcome from one state to another. One night’s stay in a hotel here, another night’s stay in a different hotel there.
Sounds kind of transient, doesn’t it? Drifting from place to place. Stopping only briefly. Just passing through.
That describes our recent vacation pretty well and transient just happens to be this week’s photo challenge theme.
We traveled in our trusty vehicle northward along the Hudson River Valley, stopping at places that we listed on our itinerary and other spots that just beckoned to us to pause and enjoy the scenery.
One night’s stay in a New York (the Empire State) hotel. Then up early the next morning to drive into Massachusetts on our way to Boston for a couple of days sightseeing and nights of restful sleep in a blessedly cool air-conditioned room with a king-sized bed.
Passing through the Bay State (MA), we decided to detour from our intended path and drive the entire length of Cape Cod, just passing through, but stopping here and there to enjoy the seashore, capture some photos, hike to a lighthouse, and eat a picnic lunch.
Then continuing our transient journey, we headed for the Ocean State (Rhode Island) and into Connecticut (officially the Constitution State but also called the Nutmeg State). Again, another couple of nights in a cool and comfortable hotel room in between more sightseeing and adventures.
Back in our vehicle, we traveled around NYC, drove through the Garden State (New Jersey), and headed for home. But not before another stop.
Another place to pass through. Another event to place in the memory bank of special moments.
We breezed into Papa’s old hometown, traveled up and down streets familiar yet now different to him, passed by his former homes, and visited his parents’ grave sites. Then we checked into yet another hotel.
But the best part of all was arranging to meet someone for lunch the next day.
We had a wonderful visit with Papa’s oldest brother, his wife, and our grown up nephew. Brother is 17 years Papa’s senior, a Navy veteran, and someone my husband just doesn’t know all that well because time, distance, and both his and our being transient and moving often separated them.
It’s been almost 19 years since they have seen each other in person and we had a joyous sort of family reunion.
While just passing through. Catching a moment to remember like the fleeting glimpse of a road sign.
“Catch, then, O catch the transient hour; improve each moment as it flies!” ~ St. Jerome
It wasn’t supposed to be like that.
Papa and I recently took a well-deserved vacation, something we haven’t been able to do for a few years. We decided where we wanted to venture, plotted our route on the map, and planned a tentative itinerary for each day.
Prior to leaving, I examined and re-confirmed weather forecasts for the areas we were going to visit. Why? Not because I was fearful it would rain. Instead, I wanted to ascertain that the weather would be mild. Because you see, I’m a fair-weather kind of gal.
I absolutely despise hot, humid temperatures. They make me wilt. They make me melt. They make me exceedingly cranky. That’s why generally, summer is not my favorite season.
So I was truly hopeful that the weather forecast I kept checking was accurate and wouldn’t change. Yep, I was that focused on it.
And of course, you know what happened, don’t you? The weather changed drastically. Temperatures that were supposed to settle down in a cozy, comfy mode of pleasant mid-70 degree Fahrenheit weather instead flared and fired up to the mid-90’s.
When the thermometer hit 95 degrees, my face flushed beet-red and my body temperature gauge felt totally out of control. I literally began to drip perspiration, dreaded all the outdoor walking we had planned to do, and thought I’d just turn into spontaneous combustion right there on the city streets of Boston.
That’s when I lost it. My brain fried, my misery escalated with each soaring degree of temperature, and I totally lost my focus.
And that just happens to have been the photo challenge last week – out of focus.
That perfectly described me – out of focus. I couldn’t concentrate on the historical sights we planned to see. I couldn’t enjoy the city we had looked forward to visit so much. I couldn’t even dredge up the energy to take photos. (Now you know how far out of focus I was!)
All I could think about was how scorching hot it felt. How the sweat stung my eyes, dripped off my nose, and ran down my back like a waterfall. How I couldn’t wait to find some cool, air-conditioned spot to just sit and vegetate and try desperately to get my focus back. Even Papa, history buff that he is, realized his enthusiasm was draining as well.
So we succumbed to being senior citizens who can’t take the heat. Folks of a certain age whose focus, energy, and gumption lagged as the roasted heat of the day took its toll.
We took a trolley tour of the city of Boston. We still saw all the sights from our shaded trolley seats but I didn’t get many pictures to prove it. And I just didn’t care.
After the tour ended, we decided to take a harbor cruise in hopes of cooling off a little more. It helped somewhat, but I found myself still…well…out of focus.
We opted to head out of the city and stop along some other points of interest on our way to Rhode Island and Connecticut. The heat still followed us for a while, but I regained motivation when we drove the entire length of Cape Cod, where I snapped the above photo.
Hot temperatures were like that beach fence separating me from the cooling waves of the Atlantic. The heat, causing me to become out of focus, distracted me from enjoying a couple vacation days.
But once I regained my focus on appreciating our vacation, the rest of the trip was the balm it was meant to be. Ocean breezes always calm me down like a slathering of cool aloe vera gel on sun-scorched skin.
And oh, yeah, guess who forgot her sunscreen?
“Getting distracted by trifles is the easiest thing in the world… Focus on your main duty.” ~ Epictetus