In Paris (…Ontario, Canada), just before the Nith River joins up with the Grand, its width is spanned by a pedestrian bridge connecting the tiny, historic downtown to the park on the opposite side. The bridge is quaint. And covered in spiderwebs.
If you’re not too busy taking in the view of the river below, or gripping the handrail for dear life while trying to avoid disturbing the spiders, you’ll notice these lone, thought-provoking words written along the railing:
Is this how graffiti’s done in small, pretty towns? In any case, I wondered why a bridge was chosen as the canvas for this particular message, instead of a wall or a door.
I put on my deep thinking cap and this is the best I could come up with: Maybe, as people, we’re most connected and accessible to one another when we’re allowed to experience and share the depth of our emotions – joy and hurt and everything in between – without the fear of judgement or failure or rejection. Maybe the world is a colder and scarier place when we become numb to our feelings in order to preserve ourselves. Maybe the bridge-philosopher is trying to say that we should work to embrace our vulnerability to experience a more wholehearted existence…Maybe, for some inexplicable reason, Brené Brown walked over this very bridge in Paris (…Ontario, Canada) and wrote this message! Look at that handwriting! Doesn’t it look like it could belong to Brené Brown?
Okay, okay. So I probably should’ve left my deep thinking/daydreaming cap at home. But it came in handy at the time. I needed a distraction from the spiders.
It occurred to me that I make a lot of photos of bridges. Bridges and doors. (And tulips, but the tulips will have to wait; the focus of this week’s WordPress weekly photo challenge is bridges, not flowers).
Aesthetically, I’m attracted to the diversity of lines, shapes and patterns in the designs of bridges and doors, but when I think about it, it’s their metaphoric elements that appeal to me, too: connections, transitions, opportunities. Possibilities.
Bridges, in particular, are a symbol of how we can overcome the barriers that separate us.
The barrier conquered by this pedestrian bridge near Kitchener, Ontario is an eight-lane provincial highway, though you can’t see it from this angle in my photo. I made a number of shots of the entire bridge, including the roadway, but they didn’t excite me all that much. The structure is part bridge, part tunnel: an enclosed arched canopy stretching over 100 metres across the busy highway, connecting two communities and providing a link in a portion of the Trans-Canada Trail (now branded as The Great Trail).
It was only when I crouched down to bring a rogue weed into the foreground (and serendipity provided the lone pedestrian in the distance) that I was happy with the result.
The icing on the cake would’ve been a tulip in the foreground instead. Sadly, even if tulip bulbs could grow in cement cracks on pedestrian bridges, I’d have to wait till next spring to catch one. So I’ll work with what I’ve got. 🙂
This photo was made in March, when there were still chunks of ice dotting the waters.
Last night’s blast of snow was re-arranged by today’s rise in temperature, and has now joined the rush of the swollen river.
I’m hoping for a little less grey and a lot more green in the days to come.
This pier was once the foundation of a railway bridge, built in 1912, primarily to support the industries on the west side of the Grand River in Galt, Ontario. I made this photo earlier this week.
Here’s a photo, made in August of 2016, of the opposite side of the same pier:
The bridge has been gone since the 1960’s, and the piers have stood here since, quiet and stoic, serving as canvas for optimistic graffiti artists (“PILLAR OF HOPE”, reads the message in the bottom photo).
A controversial plan to build a $1 million pedestrian bridge using this foundation is in the works.
If the view ends up changing, I’ll let you know. 🙂
I read this piece on the Idea Exchange website to get the brief scoop on the history of this bridge.
Today’s November 15, which means I’ve been posting once a day for exactly a month.
So far, I love it – it’s motivating me to practice with my camera, to fiddle around in Lightroom, and to string words together on the page. Also, it’s helping reduce my usual obliviousness to my immediate surroundings since I have to be attentive for photo opportunities. Oh, the benefits!
The downside is that the luggage under my eyes has somewhat darkened as a result of staying up late to get it done (late = anything past 10 p.m. for this sleepy mama). Oh, well. I suppose some sacrifices must be made.
If you’ve been visiting…thank you kindly. Onward to month #2!