Bridges were initially formed naturally, by nature in the form of a fallen tree leading from one side of a body of water to the other. There is still plenty of current evidence of these natural bridges you’ll see when walking through the forest or fishing your way up a small mountain stream. People figured out this comprehensible idea and began brainstorming ways to man-make a bridge. Bridges used to be a simple structure and some of those early methods of making the path easier can still be found today. Over time stone, concrete and metal have moved their way in to dominate most of the world’s modern bridge structures. They are amazing, some of them being beautiful pieces of architecture and art and thus tourist attractions. I found myself crossing a simpler kind of bridge this beautiful October fall day and I didn’t wanted to take it for granted.
Without a bridge to cross on this chilly October day, I would have been wading through the shallow, yet frigid waters of Lolo Creek to get from one side to the other. Thank God I happen to carry waders and wading boots in my vehicle at all times, along with plenty of other outdoor essentials in the case that I get stranded. That being the case, for me to ford the creek wouldn’t cause any potential shivers or shrinkage. When out of doors and enjoying all that nature has to offer, I often find myself thinking of how others before us consistently lived outdoors, survived off of the land, and used their own muscle and means to make a living and provide for each other.
I truly admire those that lived in what we now call a “simpler” time. They were not graced with the modern marvels and technology of today that seemingly make our lives easier and more efficient. I admire those that lived in past times where there were no cars, there wasn’t always a bridge to cross, and there was never a promise that dinner would be served that evening. When I am out exploring nature solo and feel the hairs on the back of my neck stand up as I sense that something else is near or that I am being watched, I like to think of our ancient ancestors. Those living in times when they didn’t have bear spray or firepower to protect them. They didn’t have cars. Hell, they didn’t even have shoes! They sure managed though and did a hell of a job at it!
I didn’t want to take this simple bridge for granted because it provides me a path. This bridge gave me a clear definition of where I was destined to go and where my journey exploring outdoors would take me. This bridge brings me to and from the spot where I soon hope to harvest an animal and provide meat to survive off of. This bridge casts a shadow on a creek that I love dearly and enjoy casting a fly on. So I took the time to honor that structure and admire the craftsmanship behind it. The bolts and nails may be rusty, the wood may be faded, but the means and purpose of what this bridge serves for stand strong.
Today was another wonderful October day outside in beautiful Big Sky country. It marked a special day for me though, one that I won’t forget for some time: a day where I took to enjoying simple and often unnoticed things in my life. I truly took the time to appreciate everything that was happening in and around me.