Friday, August 1, 2014

Cross the Bridge

I've written before about my adoration of the Ravenel Bridge. Not only is it great exercise to walk 5 miles, but I also get to witness a beautiful sunrise every morning. It also has become my thinking place...or where I sometimes go to escape my thoughts. You may think I have always found this to be my happy spot. But you'd be wrong.

When I moved away at 17 -- unwillingly -- I always saw the Cooper River Bridges (bonus points if you pronounced "Cooper" correctly!) as a symbol of home. Growing up, I learned how my grandfather had worked on the Grace Memorial (aka "old bridge") and knew all too well that my mother became a 21-year-old widow with three small children when her late husband's tanker jackknifed at the base of the Silas Pearman (aka "new bridge"). I recall being homesick in college when I would see Hootie and the Blowfish's "Time" video, which featured the bridges.

The bridges were so much a part of me that I literally wept at the thought of them being replaced. I was okay with the idea of an alternative with the construction of the Mark Clark Expressway, but I still wanted the option of going over the spans and smelling the pluff mud. Or the paper mill(!). I thought the new bridge to be ugly and, most of all, found the concept of change uncomfortable.

Maybe it is selective memory, but I don't recall when I decided to give the bridge a chance. Was it on a trip to my beloved Sullivan's Island? Or the lovely waterfront park underneath? Or maybe I was just swayed by the pedestrian walkway? I may never remember what it was that allowed me to fall in love with the bridge. I am just happy I gave in to to resistance and have gained so much pleasure from the experience.

As I have alluded to in this space, the last few years have not been easy. I am at a point now where there is a lot at stake and some major decisions will need to be made. I may fear the unknown, but at least I know that change may lead to something even better. And, though the view may be different, home is still where the heart is.