Building bridges

On a ramble through the English countryside this past weekend with my brother-in-law and cousin (also in-law), we came across a bit of the trail where the path had eroded by a stream, leaving a crevice 2-3 feet deep and 2-3 feet wide – but with very crumbling banks on either side. It wasn’t a dangerous crossing, just one that had the potential to create a muddy, wet mess.

My brother-in-law took the first risk across, pulling himself along by grabbing the fence. When his weight landed on the other side, the bank sank in slightly.

Next, my cousin made her crossing. She reached out to my brother-in-law who grabbed her hand to pull whilst she lunged over. But her weight on the already weak bank meant that the earth gave away and she began to slip down before being pulled to safety.

When it was my turn to cross, there was no visible way for me to do so without getting completely muddy and wet – as by now the crossing was compromised. So I backed away from the drop to survey my options. To the right, there was a tall fence and also the largest gap (also now the weakest gap because of the first two crossings). To the left, there was another fence and a great amount of thorny vegetation. But there was also a very narrow gap that seemed to have more stable banks. So I began to prepare myself for the inevitable: Crawling under and over the thorns.

But as I crouched to the ground to begin my trek, I noticed a long piece of fence on the ground – long enough to safely bridge the gap to see me safely across the hazard.

So, I dragged the wood out from under the vegetation and manoeuvred it into position. Then I passed my bag to my cousin to hold and I stepped onto the board using the fence as a counterbalance and my brother-in-law’s hand to steady me across.

And the moral of the story is this: There is always a solution to a problem. And you may have to find a different solution than others have used. But you will find a way, and there will be people to help steady you on the journey.

Sorry for being so philosophical. It’s the mood I’m in these days.

[The photo makes it seem like nothing, but to the left, that is just dry grass covering the gap, and there was no footing along the fence.]

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