I am in love with a 35 million dollar steel harp. She weighs nearly one million tons. That’s roughly the same as a half million Mini Coopers. She’s held together by 600,000 rivets. You can paint your den her color by mixing the following CMYK colors: Cyan: 0%, Magenta: 69%, Yellow: 100%, and Black: 6%. Nearly two billion cars, trucks and motorcycles have crossed her (not the angry kind of “crossed”) since she was born nearly 80 years ago.
When I am fit and rested, my fist-sized heart will collect my blood and then squeeze that blood back out 14 times between two of her fog horn blasts. That squeezey number can slide to 16 or 18 if I’m under the weather or haven’t been breaking a sweat on a faithful basis.
I see her almost every day. I always make a point of giving her a full-on drooly stare. I take her in with my eyes in a way that would likely violate stalking ordinances in most jurisdictions. Within the last year, I’ve shuffled my regular swim venue so that I can be closer to her, pulling my fingers through the same brackish water that rubbed along her buttress a few minutes ago or that will cruise underneath her a few minutes hence.
The sight of her sends an involuntary wave of relaxation through me. A deep, fulfilling sigh. And I stare.
When I am away from her for too long, I get itchy. When I return home, I am not really “home” until I lay eyes on her, or ears on her fog horns.
I got it bad.
I once was ordered to sit cross-legged on the cold, wet pavement winding towards the base of her South Tower. I had impulsively hurdled the “road closed” sign–oblivious to the high tide waves crashing on the roadway–to extend an early morning run within reach of her. To hell with the rules, I had to get closer. The Park Police were not amused, finding nothing charming in my creepy obsession. They mistook the lovesick pierce of my eyes for malevolence, figuring I had designs on targeting the bridge. This was not long after 9-11. I endured the humiliation–my name was now on their “list,” he scolded–as a small price to pay.
So what’s the point? What does this have to do with Grandma’s Lemonade?
I think it’s this: It’s important to find a way, any way, to preserve a sense of pure, unabashed wonder. Something that presses our “reset” button. That serves to recalibrate our perspective; to remind us to keep it simple.
I’m damn lucky to have this orange beauty in my backyard. I hope you’ve found your own bridge. It’s an obsession worth keeping.
Thanks for reading.
I too am in love with your bridge. Whenever I visit, I don’t feel truly there until I see the bridge. The fog horn is on my list of favorite sounds. I remember being amazed at the indifferent attitude that the locals seemed to have toward their majestic bridge when I first visited the Bay, the way they just seemed to take its beauty for granted. I believe now that they do kind of take it for granted, but in a good way, in the way that a child takes their watchful parent for granted. My bridge is a big old tree in my Mother’s backyard. Every one of her grandchildren (and no doubt dozens of children before them) have climbed and hung and hidden in its sturdy low-hanging branches.