Stonebridge is on the outside of town (Mount Joy) on Pinkerton Road. It was built in the 1880's and has withstood time better than most modern bridges. The simple and lasting design has a spirit of integrity and thinking of the future. A stone bridge. It straddles a creek that isn't wide enough to skip stones across. With some practice you can skip diagonal or down the length where it bend. Even with a good angle you might get 5 skips before hitting the other side.
As a bored teenager in a small town somehow we developed a game we referred to as "bridge jumping". Some evenings we would sit at the top of this high arch bridge and talk, sometimes smoking cigars, and solve all the worlds problems. This was actually the setup to the game to talk until the first indications of a car was coming. Then we would sprint away from the car down the arch until it was estimated to be a safe height to jump over the side to the ground. The idea was to remain "unseen" even though our ride was generally 50 feet away on the side of the road.
I will refrain from making any claims to this being a creative, clever or wise game. One, it was obvious we were there, we didn't hide our car. Two (and part of the thrill), we had a reasonable chance of spraining an ankle or breaking a leg on every jump. It was anywhere from a ten to twenty foot drop. These are things bored country boys do.
Recently the central PA area was skimmed by hurricane Irene which saturated the ground and then tropical storm Lee took up residence. He was a terrible renter; he wrecked the whole place much worse than a security deposit will account for. The security deposit check bounced.
Seeing the bridge so close to underwater really hit me. I now live 250 miles away but I longed to be there to do something. Reality is I would have nothing to do to help. Still, that's not just another town with troubles, that's my town. That's my bridge.
Another sentiment stirred within me beyond wanting to help; a feeling of permanence. I was struck with how Stonebridge is built to last. It has survived many floods (few this severe), cars bumping it (it's not an easy turn for the new driver), and countless vehicles passing over unaware of anything but the road. Unaware of the hardwork of the bridgebuilders. The builders of that bridge took pride in their work. It took hardwork and time to build it this way. They built something to last, not something to go with the flow.
A whole bunch of competing thoughts want to take over direction of this post - I can't pick a winner so here they all are:
Am I a wise builder?
-Time killers (tv, video games) vs. time fillers (building toward something - family, practice music, read a good book) (that one stings) plugging in vs. unplugging.
-Building for the future. Rock solid and ready for tough times.
What am I building?
-Principles or fads - do you build/work in a way that will last, or is it a fashion that looks neat (Tacoma Narrows Bridge) and doesn't last.
What material/supports am I using?
- Stone supports - am I standing on something solid?
As a kid playing a game:
-Politics - kids sitting on top of something built by men wiser, more diligent and more vision than they have. Also the kids running & jumping off at pretend "troubles" and when the waters rise it would be the safe place to be.
- More politics. The wise builders weren't trying to solve every problem, they solved one permanently and moved onto the next. They didn't keep a problem around so that it was theirs to fix and manage next year.
- If your first floor is washed away what have you lost? What do you have that can't be washed away?
Here's your bucket, go move the water.
Which leads me to a song that I dig up and play very often (and it's not AP).
Don't Hold Your Breath - Eric Peters from Patrick Gines on Vimeo.