The Golden Gate Bridge is much smaller than I envisioned. No, I wasn’t disappointed when I saw it for the first time. It’s still an impressive structure; I had just built it up in my mind to be colossal. I also found it to be more beautiful. Yes, concrete and steel can be quite beautiful.
My first full day in San Francisco, I went to Land’s End for a morning hike. Chai latte in hand and light jacket protecting me from the sea breezes, I started along the trail, talking with a good friend and enjoying the sights and sounds of a new place. We rounded corners and came upon views of the ocean, the fog still settled after rolling in the night before. We heard the fog horn at regular intervals, warning of the bridge that lay ahead for boats passing nearby. At one point my friend smiled and said, “Do you see it?” I wasn’t sure what I was looking for and I think I had a quizzical look on my face. He kind of laughed and then I saw it: the Golden Gate Bridge had appeared over the fog! I snapped pictures of it as we continued along the trail. As the morning wore on, the fog unveiled more and more of the bridge, its rusty red color in contrast to the pale blue sky. It’s one of those sights you can’t get enough of. There is just something wonderful about that bridge.
Bridges, in general, are pretty cool. They connect us to places we otherwise might not venture. I may not have gone to Key West if it weren’t for the bridges connecting all the keys from Miami to that crazy, wonderful town. The Sunshine Skyway Bridge over Tampa Bay is a favorite of mine too, and I recall another foggy day when I crossed the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway in Louisiana. I love being outdoors and crossing natural and manmade bridges, even the rickety ones that leave you holding your breath with each step. Those are actually some of the most fun. We probably don’t give a lot of thought to bridges, at least I didn’t until the day I couldn’t stop taking pictures of the Golden Gate Bridge. Then I was kind of grateful that someone decided a bridge needed to be there. I could probably get very deep here and talk about how bridges connect people and places, unifying us. No, I’m thinking a lot simpler than that. That day a bridge surprised me as it came into view through the fog, adding a great snapshot to my memory bank. It took me on a quick trip to Sausalito where I had the best sammich I’ve ever tasted. Something small and silly, but something really special too. Yes, the Golden Gate Bridge brought me joy… joy in seeing the awesome structure itself, joy in seeing tourists get excited about a 1.7-mile chunk of steel, joy in driving over a piece of history, and joy in a simple thing like a sandwich.
Bridges = Joy