Mar 2, 2012

The Bridge to Nowhere

I am doing a French presentation about Nature Writing, so I decided the best way to learn about it was to go do it.

This is the result.

It’s been a long time.

I haven’t written in ages. I’ve been focused on knitting and crocheting, because it makes me money. Writing doesn’t. Yet. Still working on that.

The whole way up here, my mind has been churning—I’ll write about this, and that. What a pretty sound. The grass is so green here.

Now that I’m here, nothing important comes to mind.

It’s a beautiful place: quiet, for a college campus. Probably only because it’s break and there’s only a few dozen people here. There’s a sound of some sort of electrical factory equipment far off in the distance, and every once in a while I hear the chirp of a utility van go by.

I hear the wind approach, like the enemy in the battle, slowly stirring up sound and getting louder as it gets closer. It brushes the leaves and moves the grass before it dances through my hair and tickles my skin.

Where I am is like a pelvis. It’s a bowl-shaped valley, small, but photography tricks could make it look endless because of the shapes of the hills and the positioning of the trees. There is a stone wall surrounding the quarters of the valley—the iliac crest—and stone steps in the middle where the wall joins, leading back up to the real world—the symphosis pubis.

Anatomically, I sit in the sacrum.

It’s a small foot bridge made of stone, a little bit of a slant, and curls connecting the handrail to the stone. Only two feet off the ground at the highest point, it leads from one hill—well, lump—to the other. It doesn’t join anything, it doesn’t protect from anything.

Does it serve a purpose?

Does the tailbone serve a purpose?

The girl who told me about The Bridge to Nowhere is a nutrition major, she said it was near the nutrition building, and that’s all I knew about where it was. I’d lived in Buchanan, one of the dorms in upper campus, for a semester. But I’d never gone to this side of upper campus: I’d had no reason to. Walking up to Buchanan the way I used to made me miss living there. I missed the beauty, the wind, the trees, the solitude, the fifteen minute hike to get to classes. I almost wanted to move back—then I remembered they didn’t have single rooms, private bathrooms, or kitchens. So that idea went out the window.

I found the bridge. {girl}had said she used to go up there and sit and listen to God, and pray. It sounded like a lovely place to explore on a boring windy dark day all alone on campus.

{boy} said the LARPers met here for tournaments and battles, or something. I’d seen some pictures, and I knew it was beautiful, but I didn’t know it was quite this symbolic.

At least, I found it to be symbolic. Symbolic of someone I love.

I was pretty sure nature writing was about looking at God’s creation and trying to see His glory, and power in it. I still think that’s true. Why else write about art but to worship the artist?

But the bridge made me think about trials, hard times, warfare, like {boy}'sLARP battles. Spiritual battles God puts in our lives. Sometimes they don’t look like they’re important, sometimes they look like one more pointless hoop to jump through, one more hill to hike up, one more bridge to cross. They feel like they’re just stupid things that are in our lives for no reason.

But the tailbone is there for a reason. It took us a while to figure out why we have one. It turns out we have ligaments attached to this “useless remains of evolution” and if you didn’t have one, you wouldn’t be able to stand up, sit down, walk, lay down… basically, you couldn’t go anywhere.

Maybe this was a pointless bridge, totally useless to some people, like the people who built it there. They were probably thinking “why in hell are we building a bridge that doesn’t have water or thorns or lava under it?”

But it served as a quiet place for {girl}. A battle field for {boy}.

A man who was betrayed, broken, wrongly accused, thrown in jail, and then forced to remember the unfair sin against him every day for the rest of his life may spend his days trying to understand why he was forced to cross this bridge. And he may never know. But maybe it serves as something higher and better. Maybe it’s a blessing, a lesson, a way to worship God, not to the one who was broken, but to someone else.

Does God do stuff like that?

I heard the rain before I felt it. It fell on the leaves and made a sound a child taking off his swimsuit, and letting the sand from the beach fall into the bathtub or onto the kitchen floor.

I snapped my notebook shut and threw everything into my bag, and headed up the hill towards the symphosis pubis. The steps were obnoxiously steep, and I was out of breath by the time I got up. I sighed at the trees, wishing I could be as beautiful as them in their death. I started the long walk back down to my dorm.

I stopped to pick some little purple flowers, and then went into a cafĂ© I’d never been to before. Now I sit in a window seat eating a pastry and sipping a bad latte, waiting for my Love to text me, telling me he’s finally here on campus after two months of not seeing each other, to see me, to hold me, to kiss me, to remind me of the Glory and fulfilled promises of my highest Father.

I will take him to The Bridge to Nowhere, to the tailbone of the valley, and maybe he’ll remember that sometimes things that seem pointless really serve a greater purpose—if only for future joy.

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