An old covered bridge offers a beautiful picture and a rich, symbolic metaphor for life that can inspire writers of every genre.
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First, there is the sensory experience of traveling through such a bridge — hearing the rumble and squeak of the boards below, the sensation of fleeting darkness that overcomes as you pass under the roof, the smell of the musky water that streams underneath.
As a young girl, I have my own memories of a very modest white plank bridge that my father built across a creek that ran along our property.
The wooden structure made it possible for children and families to cross over into neighboring yards and it was used frequently throughout the year, even when snow would blanket our lawns.
My most powerful memory is of summer, however, when large black snakes ranged freely in the creek below. As a child, I knew enough to stomp my feet as I crossed in order to frighten the creatures and send them slithering off into the grass. The sound of the snakes’ scamper is still with me all these years later.
Metaphorically, bridges can serves as a vivid marker of life experiences that include the journeys we take, the risk of travel, the bumps and challenges we face.
Best of all, covered bridges can represent the exciting feeling of diving into darkness and then reemerging on the other side, greeted by light and newness.
What is your experience in crossing a bridge? Literally and metaphorically? Where are you in your writing–plunged into darkness and finding your way? Or coming out the other side, feeling refreshed and assured of your direction?