Saturday, October 20, 2012

A Bridge Just Far Enough

We passed a milestone this past week. Thursday marked six years since my partner's last major cancer surgery. Coincidentally, the day also marked six years since his last cigarette. I'm not sure what to say about a man who smoked his last cig in the parking deck of Johns Hopkins moments before he stepped inside for them to remove half his liver. Tough? Strong? Stupid? Contradictory? Let's go with the last one. It applies to all of us, doesn't it? 

If my partner had any special feelings about the day, he didn't voice them. Well, not in words, anyway. He called and said he was fixing dinner and I should come straight home and not "bee-hop" around town shopping. "Bee-hop" is a good local expression which means go from one location to another much as the way a honey bee goes from flower to flower to flower. 

Dinner was a quiet affair, with no mention of the significance of the day. If that seems strange to you, I will tell you it did not to us. We said all we needed to say eight years ago when the doctors said, "inoperable" and "give him a little extra time." Never have I been so grateful for a cadre of doctors to be so wrong. Trust me when I tell you after hearing those words meatloaf, mashed potatoes and gravy, corn and green beans is a celebration feast. 

All this got me to thinking about bridges. Whether physical, or metaphysical, bridges carry us from one side to another, safely above whatever danger lies below. We encounter them every day, recognized or not, and we step across them to the other side. Sometimes we move with confidence, sometimes with fear, but we go. And frequently, what we find on the other side is something wonderful for us. 

I passed this little bridge one day on a quiet country road and was unable to resist its charm. I hope the owner didn't mind that I took a moment to walk across it, and back again. It looked so perfect I had to learn what it had to say to me, and what perspective it could show me. 

I think this bridge is waiting for someone else, maybe for the person who placed it there, and that's okay. It was enough to share its creek for a few moments before I moved on, looking for the next bridge, the one waiting for me.