Bridge to nowhere

The cradle falls down

“Rock a bye baby in the tree top

“When the wind blows

“The cradle will rock

“When the bough breas

“The cradle will vall

“who will catch baby and all?”

Years ago we built a fort for out girls. This picture was taken at the tail end of construction. Gavin and his dad were the braun. The girls are seen near and on the steps. The dog was our first, Labrador Lady. This fort was a rectangular shaped deck over a sandbox. The stairs were an antique slide stair made of cast iron. The hand rail was curved beautifully. Off from one corner we placed a slide down the opposite side from the ladder. The girls spent hours dragging stuffed animals, Barbies, and dolls up and down that fort. We even braved the night air once and slept up there. No comforter could bring us enough cushion or comfort. Poor daddy did not sleep at all running to the house for more blankets to keep us warm. Good memories.

When we moved to this place, the fort had to come with. The legs were chopped off and the sand box was recreated as a stand alone. The fort itself stood a few years until the wood began to crack.

When the girls were in junior high we put a “deck” up in the trees. The best of the boards from the fort were used. The platform was a project that the girls and their father put together. The same stairs were used and the many days spent up on the viewing deck were lots of fun. We even had school up there. If you can count going to read out on the fort with a pillow and blanket: school.

Finding pictures of those days is difficult. We had a no shoe policy and there weren’t many days when the old camera made it up there too.

The high school days seem long ago now as both girls are married. This spring with all of the rain, many of the split trunk trees could not handle all of the wells of water in their hollows. So the old fort fell down one night in another one of those windy rain storms.

We picked up the pieces… rather dad picked up the pieces and gathered the salvageable deck boards and the think tank session was in full motion.

One day, I got the grand scheme that we really ought to be adding more lanscape areas to our yard so that there is less mowing. Permanent visual art flower gardens would benefit me in my visual needs and perhaps this was the time to begin. What to do with that old deck wood?

How about a bridge?

I think my husband though I had gone mad. We don’t even have any rough, rocky, or hilly areas. But there are plenty of rocks to add to a landscape theme and perhaps a bridge to nowhere was just the thing to do with these old pieces of the first fort, turned viewing deck and now ….

We began with an idea and watched a few video how to’s and soon I was painting away.

The arched base was made from the floowbeams of the old deck. They were 2×12’s and perfect for the job.

The top of the arch is actually the pice that is cut from the bottom and lifted up to the top and planked together by screws and lag bots. The corner of the base bottom board is cut off to continue the arch. The three base pieces are held together with some 2×4’s in between. And soon we were putting the deck boards on.

The floor of the bridege was complete and then it was time to design the handrails. We went in for coffee and some more Google search time. Seeing the deck boards used for the third time and thinking about there age was good ruminating over memories. The boards were first used nearly 20 years ago. We never sealed the green treat lumber, yet here they are sanded and ready for another 20 years maybe. This time the paint will help them weather their use.

Once we figured out our design for the hand rails, the four uprights and the top rail could be placed. Happily the 1×3 we used for the handrail did not snap when we attached it. It was just thin enough to take the arch that we wanted it to have.

And finally it was time for those trying triangles again. Getting the angles on the ends of each board was a bit of trial and error, but thank goodness my husband is an engineer. One measurement and four boards later, each piece was placed and “eyeballed” into position!

Here is the finished project!

Of course, we aren’t really finished yet. The landscape idea is in process. Creating a dry river bed isn’t exactly what my husband wants, but having another mosquito haven is not my idea, so we will see what the landscaped area turns out like down the calendar aways.

So many days I needed to look at some item to remind me just where I have come from and where I am going. My eyesight will play tricks on me out in the yard, but if there is something to aim for, I can get moving again if I feel lost.

This bridge really symbolizes much. From the youth of our parenting days, to the years of homeschooling, and now the bridge to a future. We take each day, each step, one at a time. Days turn into years so quickly. Each decision we make to put another step forward leads us to a future that we may not always know the outcome. Yet we build things, we create memories, we make bridges.

Whether it is with people, places, or things where we came from might just be the bridge that gets us to where we are going….