I mentioned in the last post my fear of bridges – so now I’m just going to go off on it for a little while here.
I love bridges. Some of my favourite architectural pieces are bridges. In particular, I like brutalist-style concrete spans, particularly if they curve. The stretch of skytrain from Stadium to Main St. is one of my favourite spans anywhere. While incredibly ugly, there is a stark, industrial beauty about a thin slab of cement arcing across my field of vision, thin legs holding this monstrosity up.
Bridges are the ultimate representation of man’s arrogance towards nature. Much more so than a tunnel, that are buried comfortably in the earth. A bridge is left out there for all to see. Driving spikes into a raging river, taunting the force of the water to knock them over. A bridge deck is asking the wind to shake it apart. Connecting disparate pieces of land that Nature has so carefully split apart over the millenia seems foolhardy. Everytime I set foot on a bridge, I see images of it buckling, shaking, tossing all over in the force of an earthquake/hurricane/tornado/etc. Mostly earthquakes, but then I live of the west coast.
Bridges are metaphysical dividers. While it’s no further to walk to broadway than it is to walk to Stanley park, it seem infinitely farther because I must cross a bridge. Moving to the other side of the bridge makes living on ‘the other side’ seem as far away as coquitlam. A bridge is a much larger mental barrier than a door to something. But like a door, a bridge joins, only it can join much more disjointed ideas. It can cross over a large gap to a new train of thought, or a new land. One can never cross a bridge without coming to the brink of something. Something must end before you can get on a bridge, which leaves a discontuity between what you are leaving behind. and what you are heading to.
Bridges are humanized because they age. They also come in breeds and have jobs.
Bridges are some of the few places in a city that one can be truly alone. Stand at the apex of the granville street bridge at 3 in the morning and you’ll know what I mean – you are lost aloft in the air between pockets of civilization. It is dark above and below you. You’ve left the comfort of wherever you are, and are hurrying to wherever it is you’re going.
Oddly enough though, when things aren’t going well for me, I look at bridges as a sign of stability and comfort. As long as the bridge (And it can be any bridge that is part of my life) is standing, then I know things will be ok. Just like now. When I’m on my way home and can see all three bridges connecting to downtown spewing out their blood of cars & exhaust, I know that things are fine.
And that ends this incoherent rambling about bridges