Bridges Connect Things

Under the Mississippi River Bridge

Under the Mississippi River Bridge

After walking across the Mississippi River on the Big River Crossing from Memphis, Tennessee, to Arkansas, we stopped for a few minutes underneath the bridges. The clouds in the sky show that we did not stop there for the shade, necessarily. But we stopped there because I liked the perspective of being under the bridge as it went over us.

The bridge at the left of the photo with the train along the top of it was the one that we walked across. The bridge at the right is the main bridge for Interstate 55 as it crosses the Mississippi River. And the bridge at the center is another railroad bridge, if you are wondering.

It was pretty cool to stand under the bridges as cars and trains passed over our heads. The Mississippi River was higher than usual, so we had a nice view of the water, too. Apparently the water does not usually come up this close to where the trail ends under the bridge. In fact, the water was covering some of the other trails that lead away from the Big River Crossing, so we could not walk on those. Because we would have had to swim over those. And I don’t think swimming in the Mississippi River would be a good idea. For several reasons.

Connecting Bridges

One of the cool things about bridges is that they connect things that often cannot be connected otherwise. Or they connect things that would take much more effort to connect in other ways. For example, a ferry could take cars across the river here, but if you have ever been on a car ferry then you know it is not always a fast process.

And the size of a bridge does not always indicate its importance. A bridge over a small creek is every bit as important as a bridge across a large river if at that moment you are trying to cross the creek and not the river. You can’t very well drive your car across either one. Both are necessary.

What good is a bridge that doesn’t really connect to anything? Not much at all. You will find yourself driving off into the water sooner or later.

Some years ago, a few of our bridges around here had some problems. One friend’s wife was concerned about safety. She asked him, “Can’t you find a way to drive to work that would avoid bridges?” But when he got to looking at it all, that is pretty much impossible if you count the small bridges along with the large bridges. Bridges are necessary if we are going to have those connections at all. You could just stay at home and never go anywhere. But if you never go anywhere, you never get anywhere. 

Building Bridges

So bridges for our cars can be a metaphor for bridges for our lives. In case you haven’t figured out where I am going with this. Sometimes we need bridges in our lives to bring us together with people who we might otherwise be separated from. 

Sometimes what separates us is something simple like age. Or location. Income level. Even race, which is really just a perceived difference and not an actual difference. Sometimes we have to build those bridges to overcome those differences. They may be more like creek-sized bridges than river-sized bridges, but that’s okay.

How do we do it? It can be something really simple. The other day as I was dropping Jaylin off at school, one of the other students looked over at me as I was in the car, and she smiled and waved. I smiled and waved back. That was a connection. Just a friendly gesture that brightened my day. Wouldn’t it be nice if we smiled and waved at each other more often? That might make the world a little bit more joyful.

Sometimes when people build bridges (I’m back to talking about the real thing here for just a minute), they start at each side of the river and work their way toward each other, meeting in the middle. Sometimes if what separates us is a big difference, we might have to build our bridges and meet each other in the middle. Don’t get me wrong. That doesn’t mean that you compromise your integrity or give up your principles. You just have to find a common place in the middle to meet. Because if you don’t build that bridge in the first place, then you never have any chance of trying to get them to come to your side.

Some of the very important things in life are the connections that we make along the way. You never know when those connections will be helpful in the future. So build good, strong bridges whenever you can. Who knows how many others might benefit from those bridges in the future?

Bible Verse

Show family affection to one another with brotherly love. Outdo one another in showing honor. - Romans 12:10

About the Photo

For the first photo at the top of this page (click on the second photo to see more about it), I combined two different exposures from the same Raw file. This time around, I used Photoshop’s Auto Blend Layers, which did all of the hard work of putting the two exposures together, and it did it really quickly and easily.

After that, I used some of the Nik Collection tools to give it a unique look, as I do for several of the photos around here.

Here is a before and after view of the photo, showing how the processing brought out the details in the clouds and in the underside of the bridge, too. You can also see that I used Photoshop’s Content Aware Fill tool to remove the railing at the lower left of the photo. Pretty cool.

Under the Mississippi River Bridge before and after

Photo: A single Raw exposure, processed in Photoshop. Read more about photography tips, photo software, camera gear, and more at Steve’s Photography Tips.
Camera: Olympus OM-D E-M10
Lens: Rokinon 7.5mm f/3.5 Fisheye Lens
Date: March 10, 2018
Location: Memphis, Tennessee


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Burnsland is Steve Burns, with generous help from his lovely wife Laura. Steve is a husband, father, photographer, webmaster, writer, podcaster, artist, Christian. Steve enjoys sharing his photography, art, and stories through Burnsland.com, from the Burnsland World Headquarters in Tennessee.