‘A bridge too far ?’

I like to take photos of bridges, especially covered bridges and the long, high steel and steel-cabled bridges.

Covered bridges are an especially good representation of the past, while the newer steel-cabled bridges represent the present and future.

Both, in a figurative sense, are representations of situations and decisions we face every day, especially with life-altering decisions.

Do we cross the bridge? What happens if we don’t like it when we get to the other side? Can we go back across the bridge or do we just burn it to the ground when it doesn’t work out the way we think it should?

If I have said it once, I have said it a thousand times, “I don’t burn bridges, I just don’t go back across them,”© … it is easy to say … not so easy to do, especially in cases where love is concerned.

And, honestly, I have broken my own rule … once. In fact, I have broken all of my own rules at one time or another … but, that’s another story.

Bridges have long been one of the many ways to navigate an obstacle, such as otherwise impassable mountains, bodies of water or various other terrains that make our lives easier to get from Point A to Point B … but, it’s also shorter to stay on the interstate and go through Atlanta, distance-wise, rather than to try to go around, but it really isn’t easier or quicker. If you’ve ever driven through Atlanta as I have on a regular basis, you know exactly what I’m talking about.

But, every time I see a bridge, I remember the one time I did go back across it. I don’t regret it, but up until that time it was always something I had wondered about, along with all the other metaphors, especially about bridges.

Recently, I crossed many of the long steel bridges on my way to Illinois and the whole issue about lifes bridges resurfaced. As I crossed the Tennessee, Cumberland and Ohio rivers it reminded me of everything it takes to build a bridge, literally and figuratively.

“We build too many walls and not enough bridges,” — Isaac Newton; “Sometimes you have to, as I say, build bridges where you can — but draw lines where you must,” — U.S. Sen. Fred Thompson, who was also a popular actor, columnist and radio host; “We will burn that bridge when we come to it,” — Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and my very own “I don’t burn bridges, I just don’t go back across them — John Wesley Peeler,”  are just some of the metaphors that come to mind.

Although I am by no means in either the intellectual or artistic category as those I quote, there are pros and cons to my own metaphor.

Many will burn a bridge just to keep themselves from going back across it, while others just build the walls, rather than take the time to build a future or better yet, try to move too fast and plan out every detail in life just to have to burn a bridge when things didn’t work out as they had planned — ” … when they get to it.”

On the anniversary of my birth, not a birthday, because we only have one day we are physically born, I felt it was appropriate to reflect on every rule I have made about relationships and came to the conclusion that rules in life, especially love, is full of rules … all of which were meant to be broken at one time or another.

We all find ourselves in many different situations throughout life … most of which weren’t planned for; such as falling for an older or younger person, someone who can’t or doesn’t want children, someone who already has several children, someone who is geographically distant and any other kind of situation one can think of … it would be a shame to miss out on a “once in a lifetime love” simply because we can’t get a situation to conform to our so-called” rules.

Life is short … too short to always have to live by stringent rules.

Some bridges should never be crossed, some should never be gone back across … and some … are worth every step of retracing your footsteps … back across the bridge.

This isn’t only true in love, but life, as well. Every situation is different and varies with each person, disposition of that person, their upbringing and most importantly, each life journey that brings them to the proverbial bridge.

I’ve been around long enough to realize different people react to situations differently at different periods in their lives, at different ages and for different reasons. It doesn’t make them or define them, except for that one moment in time.

So when you come to a crossing point in your life, a metaphorical bridge, you have a few decisions and options.

Cross it, or don’t..  If you decide to cross it and it doesn’t work out … burn it, or don’t. If you don’t, go back across it if you must. Life is not always about keeping ones rules … such as they are.

If you burn the bridge, be big enough to try to at least attempt to repair it. Like every building project though, repairs may take time and will come at the cost of compromise.

Life is too short to live with what might have been, what could have been and all the other “what ifs.”

You will come to many bridges in life. Whatever path you choose and whatever bridge you encounter, always find a way to shine, but never consider any bridge … a bridge too far.