The cedar will turn grey over the winter.

Nine Bridges, to Where?

Last week we added two new bridges on the Timelines trail. They aren’t large constructions but both allow us to keep our feet dry. The first bridge, near the end of the avenue of crabapple trees, avoids the ditch at the end of a culvert that goes underneath a road that connects our village of North Hatley to the neighbouring village of Sainte-Catherine-de-Hatley — formerly known as Katevale.

 

This ditch is always wet. We've made it larger by driving over it multiple times in a small all-wheel vehicle.
Over time we’ve made this ditch deeper and wider by driving through it in a small all-wheel vehicle.

 

The lines of the bridge are simple, a good fit for the straight allée that follows.

 

The cedar will turn grey over the winter.
The cedar posts and planks will turn grey over the winter.

 

A smaller ditch on the trail needed a smaller bridge.

 

Some months ago we added a similar bridge at another point on the Timelines trail.
Some months ago we added a similar bridge at another point on the Timelines trail. Now we can comfortably cross the streams and drainage ditches.

 

Thinking of these two new bridges made me realize how many other bridges we have at Glen Villa, and how different they are from each other.

There is the big bridge on the road by our pond.

 

The bridge is public, the pond isn't.
The bridge is public, the pond isn’t.

 

There is the little bridge covered with small round logs, that one of our grandchildren named the Troll Bridge.

 

I tried to cover the planks with moss but it didn't work.
I wanted moss to grow on the logs but the moss made the logs slippery so I let it die off.

 

There is the zig zag bridge in the Asian meadow.

 

A traditional Asian belief, that evil spirits move only in straight lines, accounts for the design of this zig zag bridge.
A traditional Asian belief, that evil spirits move only in straight lines, accounts for the design of this zig zag bridge.

 

There is the gently curved foot bridge at the edge of the woods, designed to rise above high water in the spring run-off.

 

I love the curve on this bridge. It rises gently enough to be easy to walk across but the centre point is high enough to avoid high water in the spring run off.
I took this photo when the bridge was new. The wood has now aged to a soft grey, blending into the surrounding forest.

 

And finally, there is the rock bridge that spans the stream that fills the Skating Pond.

 

We uncovered this rock when we dug the pond. My friend Myke suggested that it become a bridge.
We uncovered this rock when we dug the pond. My friend Myke suggested that it become a bridge. Good idea, Myke! It has worked well.

 

Not all bridges serve the same purpose. We needed a large bridge to cross the stream that separates our property from a neighbour’s. They were ok with the connection. And with the signs.

 

No, not a metaphor.
A nod to René Magritte? Crossing in the other direction, the signs are in French: Ce pont n’est pas … une métaphore.

 

Not all bridges are actual. Some are works of art, like this one made from girders that once supported an old covered bridge.

 

The sculptors Louise Doucet and Satoshi Saito named their sculpture Bridge Ascending.
The sculptors Louise Doucet and Satoshi Saito named their sculpture Bridge Ascending. The fire that destroyed the bridge twisted the girders into curving forms.

 

Some bridges aren’t there at all, or are there only in the eye of a beholder looking upwards and out.

 

An approaching storm colours the skies.
These storm clouds looked to me like a bridge to another world. The storm that followed was a doozy!

 

Who knows where this sky-bridge may lead?  Or who can cross it, or when?

  • Ah, bridges! My favorite way to accessorize a path. They send a subliminal message, perhaps several. One, permission. You have permission to go here, we are making it easy for you. Two, a possible transition. Is the further side similar to the side you just left, or very different? Probably more messages than that, if I took the time to ponder it. But one thing that isn’t often considered, I think, is that a bridge can be a place to sit, let your feet dangle, and watch the water go by. If a bridge has to have rails, they should be built–as your new larger one is–so that feet dangling is possible. In NY, most, if not all, of the places where you have bridges would be considered wetlands and you would be required to get a permit before disturbing the area. Yes, even on private property.

    • siteandinsight

      Kathy, I like your idea about the messages that bridges send. I’m thinking about what messages the styles of bridges send. Chinese red bridges stand out from their surroundings. Bridges with steep curves slow you down, or make crossing the water difficult. Bridges with roofs provide shelter. Lots of things to think about, that I hadn’t considered before.

  • I see the sky bridge, it’s there and it’s a doozy!!!!!!!!!!

    • siteandinsight

      I knew we were kindred spirits.

  • annewareham

    O bridges!!! How fantastic! What is ‘doozy’?

    • siteandinsight

      The dictionary definition: something outstanding or unique of its kind.
      “it’s gonna be a doozy of a black eye”

      My definition: something big and impressive.

      • siteandinsight

        It must be an North Americanism… I’ll look it up.

        • siteandinsight

          thanks to world wide words: “You might think etymologists are slipping their mental gears if I tell you that they’re fairly sure that it comes from the flower named daisy. But that was once English slang, from the eighteenth century on, for something that was particularly appealing or excellent. It moved into North American English in the early nineteenth century … Experts think that that sense — which was still around at the end of the nineteenth century — might have been influenced by the name of the famous Italian actress Eleonora Duse, who first appeared in New York in 1893. Something Dusey was clearly excellent of its kind, and it is very likely that it and daisy became amalgamated in people’s minds to create a new term.

  • DOUGLAS GIBSON

    Excellent, as always, Pat. and I love the comfortably intruding hawk about to land on Bridge Ascending.

    • siteandinsight

      I wondered if anyone would notice… trust you, Doug.

  • Jason

    My favorite is the one with the round logs.

    • siteandinsight

      It’s the most interesting, I agree. Also the most difficult to use.

  • Myke Hodgins

    Very nicely done, the experimentation and refinement of finding various ways to pass over water creates different experiences each time. Bravo Pat