As step-by-step a massive bridge I cross,
Dark stone spanning a river, swift and cold;
The earth-bone arch, clothed in ivy and moss,
Stands adamant as bedrock, hard and old.
I wonder, was it built, or did it grow,
To cross the water's path from bank to bank?
Or did it heal a land cut by the flow,
As runnel ribbons sliced the valley's flank?
As I stride past the mid-point of the span,
Where keystones should have held the arch in place;
I realize I tread a giant hand,
Its owner granting leave, in silent grace.
I smile, and whisper softly, for His ear:
"Without Your gracious help, my path ends here..."
I've crossed thousands of bridges in my life, and only some of them were the work of human minds and hands: The familiar Houghton/Hancock Bridge, the mighty Mackinac Bridge, and the spans crossing the Mississippi River near Red Wing, Minnesota spring to mind. Although these grand monuments to our engineering prowess and singular vision speak volumes regarding our need to connect to, and interact with each other, they are far from the only bridges we cross in our lives.
I have crossed mighty cataracts and yawning chasms in my life, and most were the terrible consequences of life events or decisions made (or avoided). Each time, as my path ends upon the nearest bank, I find an ancient stone bridge -- an arch that is so much more than a bridge, so much greater than any span built by man.