The other day a dear friend pointed out to me that the bridge tower I work in is basically the aesthetic equivalent of a concrete bunker, and the green and rusted girders make the bridge itself rather ugly.
That really took me by surprise (and even hurt my feelings for a hot second). I had never looked at it that way. To me, my bridge is gorgeous. I suppose this is how mothers of unattractive children feel. Yes, my baby may be butt-ugly to you, but he’s the most beautiful thing on earth to me.
I know every bolt and girder on this bridge intimately. When something goes wrong with it I can feel it in my bones. I climb amongst its greasy moving parts. I know every creak and groan it makes while moving. I sway with it when a heavy truck travels past. At night, the sparks from the passing trolleys cast a silvery glow upon my skin.
And yes, the room I spend the bulk of my time in isn’t particularly large, but its four walls don’t limit me. After gazing at this view for so long, the horizon is my boundary. My sense of place extends from the Cascade Mountains to the far shore of Lake Union. It is the deep blue canal and the dome of the sky. I have the most beautiful workplace in all of Seattle. Fortune 500 companies would pay millions for a view like this.
And I’ll never get over my amazement at how gracefully such a huge object can move. Every drawbridge is a miracle of engineering. Every drawbridge is a work of art.
While I am grateful for the insight that not everyone sees my bridge the way I do, I will always be proud to know that I am this bridge’s protector, its maintainer. I keep it safe.
In exchange it provides me with a way to support myself, literally and figuratively, and a place of blessed solitude where I can muse and write and dream. It’s one of my most intimate relationships. That means it will forever be a thing of beauty to me.