A bridge is a structure built to span physical obstacles without closing the way underneath such as a body of water, valley or road, for the purpose of providing passage over the obstacle. There are many different designs that each serve a particular purpose and apply to different situations. Designs of bridges vary depending on the function of the bridge, the nature of the terrain where the bridge is constructed and anchored, the material used to make it and the funds available to build it. (Wikipedia)
This past summer our daughter got married in beautiful Mackinaw City, MI. In order reach Michigan we had to cross many bridges, both coming & going. When it was time to go we left our daughter, her children & new husband as this is where they were planning to start their new life. While we wanted the absolute best for them, it was so incredibly hard to leave them.
I cried! Cried myself to sleep, cried when I woke up, cried going back to sleep, etc. Ahhhh, looking back I am so thankful for the sweet, patient, loving, kind husband I have. Oh, it was so hard! As we traveled further away and as the day carried on, my tears began to dry up and I could think clearly. I know that I certainly was not the first mother in the world to let go of some of the ones that mean so much to her! I thought about the beginning of McKenzie County, how the young ambitious settlers left their loved ones behind in Countries like Norway, England, Germany, etc. How did they do it? What was that like for them? Knowing that they might never ever see these precious people ever again! Oh, how did they do it?
I thought all about the bridges they must have crossed, I thought about the Fairview Bridge, about how many people who bridge transported by railcar into the county. People with the excitement of beginning a fresh new life, coming to their own “land of opportunity”. Young people like mine, with a hope and a dream and the ambition to see it through. McKenzie County North Dakota, the “Island Empire”, surrounded by huge flowing rivers and “Badlands”. This bridge brought them over the Great Yellowstone River into the wide – open prairie, their ambition to “tame the wild”. The land had so much to offer, free land it was. All you do is “prove up” and it’s yours all 160 acres! I wonder as they crossed the famous Yellowstone River and headed into this tunnel what thoughts went through their mind?
I wonder what went through their mind heading into this tunnel and then how surprised they might have been when they reached the other side!
Life on the prairie is not for the feeble at heart. It requires one to have the strength and a willingness to press on through whatever comes. It offers a sense of freedom, with the view going on for miles and miles. The summer winds blowing the tall grasses or in the winters driving the blinding snow as a horizontal razor slicing through the frigid air.
I wonder about the letters that young bride wrote to her mother so far away, did she tell her only about the beauty of this prairie, or did she tell all? How long it would take for this letter to reach home? Months for sure even a year, or will it ever get to her?
In my romantic thoughts, I like to think of both mother & daughter of having the strength of iron like bridges have. I like to think of them stretching and bending to their circumstances that came like the Mighty Mackinaw Bridge bends and sways as it stretches across the waters. Or having the strength of steadfast iron like the Fairview Bridge that will only rise and separate to allow the largest of ships to sail by and then come back together with steadfast strength that only works as it stands as one. I know that at times they both thought they just couldn’t go on, that they would quit and give up & I know that some did.
As my thoughts return to the reality of our new life. I know that she & I will have our times of bending, swaying, having the strength of steadfast iron, and the ability to rise & separate to let that “ship” sail by. I miss her, so much but I know that she is fine. Our futures are going to be new and different but when we come across a valley or road that looks impossible to cross, we will build our own bridge and be able to get to the other side.
We’re privileged to carry Sandy’s writings, such as this article. She is one of the talented people from the Badlands who have different creative or artistic talents or many who have musical abilities. These music queens from the West are examples.
If you’ve visited the North Dakota Badlands, you know how inspiring they can be. What artists do you know who have been inspired by the Badlands? We’d like to write about them, tell the world about them. Here’s how to reach us.
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