Bridges, Paths, & Stages

One of the places I jog and walk often has several little bridges over a branch that runs underneath them. I’m a sucker for bridges and water, and it’s even better if there are hardwoods nearby. Seems a perfect convergence to my soul. It has been so dry lately that you can sometimes cross the branch without the bridges. The wildlife trails are plentiful. You can see impressions of deer hooves from the nocturnal whitetails that graze the fields at night; the impressions in the sand are like stenciled marks saying, “I was here first.” Gray squirrels along the branch scurry plentifully where varieties of oaks shower acorns in abundance. Raccoons nest here, too. You can see them at night if you shine your flashlight upon them. Their eyes glow back at you as if lit from within by white candles.

The little bridges cross you over the branch onto further running trails. You can see moms with strollers holding their infants and toddlers, soldiers in boots with rucksacks packed heavy with gear, often training for rigorous military schools, long-distance runners who move as lightly as the whitetails, and relaxed walkers with their earbuds in. I suppose there’s a lesson here–perhaps of our seasons. First, we are strolled by our mothers. Later in life we may find ourselves pushing our bodies physically to their limits. Then there’s a season where we are no longing running but walking at a leisurely pace.

In As You Like It, one of the Bard’s plays, Shakespeare phrased it this way:

“All the world’s a stage/And all the men and women merely players;/they have their exits and their entrances;/And one man in his time plays many parts,/His acts being seven ages.”

It’s interesting to me as a I jog, and see, and am seen–to ponder the paths we spend our time and energies upon, and for what purposes. “There is a way that seems right to a man,” Solomon wrote about, but there is more to that sentence he penned with his typical wisdom. It’s important to trace the ways/paths/trails/roads to their end-states. Solomon’s last words in Ecclesiastes were his most important, after all. He had learned some profound things and was compelled to share them, almost as if they were bridges to sagacity.

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