Bridges, hills and forest perspectives

Itching to get out of the house, Mark and I went to explore the Erie County Forest. As we toured the path we came across one group of people huffing and puffing. “Is there a road nearby?” they asked and we assured them it was only another 10 minutes or so until they got to the trailhead. “It’s really up and down,” they warned us. “And watch out for the horse manure.” But as we followed the blazed trail, we found it a rather pleasant walk in the woods. It wasn’t really hilly at all and the horse manure? Well, there were horse droppings (after all, part of this trail is also a horse trail) but nothing that was disgusting or overwhelming.

How different our perspectives can be and how those perspectives color our experiences. I was happy to see this group outside and active and, from what it seemed, pushing themselves outside their comfort zone. For me and for Mark, this was an easy walk in the woods (and thank goodness for me since I had a hellish long run that morning). Mark was kind of bored, but did find the path a new opportunity for trail running. Me? I wasn’t only grateful for an easy afternoon on my tired legs. I enjoyed just being in the woods, experiencing a new trail and having a moment to sink into the being rather than being focused on the doing.

While on the path, we noticed a covered bridge (which frankly wasn’t entirely stable, but that was part of the fun) on which a sign was posted reading “A Bridge Too Far.” We crossed it and briefly explored the other side, but returned to our original path of choice. Still, the bridge stuck with me for the rest of the week. What did the name mean? According to my internet searching skills, “A Bridge Too Far” is the name of a 1977 epic war movie based on a 1974 book dealing with the failure of Operation Market Garden in World War II, an attempt to break through German lines and seize several bridges in the Netherlands.


While I am a self-admitted history geek, this wasn’t exactly the hidden meaning I was looking for. I was hoping for something insightful or spiritual or motivational. Instead, I got World War II. But if I follow through with my thinking on perspectives, it doesn’t matter why this particular small creek crossing in the Erie County Forest sports a sign which reads “A Bridge Too Far.” What matters is what it means to me. And clearly it has sparked something of importance in me, or else I wouldn’t still be thinking about it so much that I felt compelled to write about it, too.

This weekend I will be traveling to Renovo, Pa., to participate in the Try All By Fire event, created and hosted by the gang at TRYChips. The event features only a finish line. The whole thing is a bit out of my comfort zone — going by myself, not really knowing anyone involved, not having my route picked out just yet and, of course, tent camping for the first time ever. Perhaps I’m reaching for a bridge too far this weekend, something just a bit outside of my norm. Perhaps I need to metaphorically bridge something in my life. Or maybe, I just need to go play in the woods, because then I discover all sorts of things which ignite my imagination and give me a chance to try on new perspectives.


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