Building Bridges

I’ve been thinking a lot about bridges. The schisms in this country seem to only get wider. Political storms intensify in parallel with extreme storms that our changing climate generates. Echoes of hopelessness in both instances bounce off canyon walls as the dire and increasingly hopeless conditions show no signs of abatement.

The latest foul suggestion of “liberal genocide” implies the answer to our differences is to kill those who disagree with you. Not a very pro-life sentiment, if you ask me. But you didn’t. And perhaps that is the problem. Still I can’t believe that the vast majority of those on the other side of the opinion world genuinely have a death wish for the rest of us. But the gap spreads. The rift grows. How do we turn the tide?

We desperately need a bridge or two across the raging storm current beneath.

What do I know about bridges?

Their purpose is to aid travel across chasms, canyons, or river channels.

They come in many sizes

and many different designs.

They can be a simple as a fallen log spanning a water-filled gully, or so complex they take years to build.

They can be artistic treasures, offering the best of humankind,

and are often sought by artists or photographers as worthy subjects.

Some draw tourists to unique examples of beauty merged with utility.

Bridges can be found almost anywhere.

They are built with the future in mind, to assist the travel of those who follow the bridge makers.

Sadly, bridges are often targeted for destruction during warfare.

Model of the A-bomb detonation found in the Hiroshima museum. The target was believed to be a t-shaped bridge.

But some are designed with strength enough to withstand unspeakable devastation.

The t-shaped bridge today. Unlike most of the rest of the city, it was not destroyed by the atomic bomb.

Others succumb to heavy flooding and raging water.

But they can be re-built. Some bridges have been re-built with pride multiple times by different generations. They endure for centuries.

Construction of bridges would be most efficient if started from both sides to meet in the middle. But they can be built from one side alone.

Many chasms are born when a trickle of rainwater starts to flow in a miniscule crack. When the rift is deep enough, travel across it is impossible.

But the stones to build a bridge often come from the same geologic formation on opposite sides, and the planks come from sister trees.

Though the views are mirrored from either side,

 

a traveler sees the world


 

differently from the middle of a bridge.

 

 

 

With scant leadership from our Capitol, the healing process may fall to us, the people. We need a few bridges to cross the growing chasms in our political and social landscapes.

Stone by stone.

Pile by pile.

Time’s wasting. Let’s get started.

 

 

 

 

The Creative Life

Life

I write my life.  Since the age of ten when I wrote my first story and was instantly hooked, I have been infected with a mysterious contagion for which there is no cure.   Writing stories, poems, novel manuscripts and memoirs has been part of my life ever since.  Yet I don’t live to write.  I live.  And I write.  I write my life.

Through young adulthood, curiosity led me to question things.  Whether any purposeful meaning existed or not, I asked, “What does this mean?  Why am I here?  What am I to do with my life?”wren.jpg

The search for answers helped sharpen my powers of observation until nearly everything holds metaphorical parallels to some facet of the human condition.  I watch a moose lunge exhausted through shoulder-deep snow and I learn the dangers of choosing an easy path.

I stand in a downpour and hear the rain plummet from heaven in one step of the water cycle.  And it spoke to me of cycles in life.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI watch a family of ducks chase madly from one point to another and back again and I see human fads and opinions mirror the whimsical parade of a flock of ducks.

I watch my best friend waste away in a losing battle with cancer and I understand how the growing demands of humanity sap the vitality of our home planet in a similar fashion.

Meadowlarks leap into the wind so they might gain lift and fly away.  And I learn I cannot hide from life.  I must face my own torrential gale of events if I am ever to find the answers to my questions.

Messages from the universe arrive on the dust of a sun beam and the wings of the wind.  As a writer, my task becomes one of interpretation, to paint in words the messages which I hear.

Too restless to be able to handle writing at my desk for hours at a time, I discovered that “The Writing Life” was not for me.  Rather, “The Creative Life” seemed a better term.  What is a creative life?  Just as a blank page begs a poet to fill it with thoughts which will touch a heart, or a computer screen winks with invitation to a novelist, a canvas beckons an artist to paint images that will coax emotion from viewers.  A chunk of granite calls a sculptor to release the figure trapped within.  An ordinary scene invites a photographer to transform its image into beauty with a camera lens.  A composer looks at a blank musical score and hears a new symphony.  A plot of land begs management that will develop its natural beauty.  An empty house is an opportunity for unique self-expression.  And the minutes of each new day invite me to follow my heart and fill those minutes well so that at dusk, I can say, “I wrote my life well today.”

To answer any one of these invitations is to live The Creative Life.  By filling empty spaces with an art form of our passions, we bridge the void from the rest of the universe to the human heart.  So I write my life.  I may take to the Flint Hills of Kansas with my camera strapped to my shoulder.

The Flint Hills.

I may arrange a beautiful melody for the participation and enjoyment of a crowd of people.  Or I may fill empty pages with metaphors.  What emerges is truth.  Or fiction.  Or a combination of both.   After all, someone may need the message delivered on this dawn’s breeze.