Tuesday, September 20, 2011
I have a thing for this bridge. I have loved it for years.
Let me introduce you to the St. John's Bridge. It spans the width of the Willamette river and connects the most northern parts of east and west Portland. I fell in love with the beautiful green upper arches made to look like a cathedral as you drive over the river. On a clear day you can see Mt. St. Helen with it's top blown off, Mt. Hood levitating in the east, and a distant-but-distinct Mt. Jefferson as you cross. I also fell in love with Cathedral Park which lines the east side of the river where one foot of the bridge is planted. What I really fell for, though, is the trestle made to look like gothic-y cathedral archways when you stand in the park and look straight through the legs of the bridge. The designers didn't just make the top of the bridge beautiful, they made the underbelly of it a sculptural work of art, too. It's impossible to see how the columns and peaks line up so perfectly unless you are underneath the bridge. It's a hidden, concrete piece of modern art.
Did you ever hear the old parable of the three men and the rocks? I feel like the last 5 years have been spent building a sacred space, but mostly it's felt like I've been moving a lot of rocks. Many times I've lost sight of what I'm doing, where I'm going, what I'm building, what my work is for. The schlepping and scraping and breaking has been tedious and wearying. But when I look at St. John's bridge, I am instantly connected to my life's work, my love work, and the sacred space I am building for myself and my family. I am reminded that the view from the bridge can be breathtaking and beautiful, but the hidden joists and trestles keeps it firmly intact...the mysterious, unsung, and gracefully engineered piece of artwork that I cannot see unless I am willing to look underneath the surface.
I took this picture last summer when moving here was a lovely and terrifying dream that I really hoped would come true. It did. (I know, I'm just as surprised as you are.) And it has been both lovely and terrifying and a million other in-between feelings. But right now, I mostly feel lucky. Jobs, housing, school...it has all worked out. We have a small but precious community of life-long friends who ground us, decent jobs to sustain us, enough money to pay for my schooling as I go, and a cute tiny apartment near the west waterfront on the south side of Portland with our own little garden plot and fruit trees. Years of dreaming, planning, hoping, saving, stressing and angsting...and we're here.
This is me. Building my cathedral. Creating a space for love to grow.