Category Archives: bridges

Symbolic Bridges

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Oprah and thousands join her as she crosses the bridge in Selma.

She and the cast for the movie, “Selma,” took several takes in

their arm in arm walk together. It could not have been without

some impact on their lives. In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Day, I was going to write about the anniversary of the bridge walk.

 

On January 8, 2015, some who chose to walk across the Edmund

Pettus Bridge located in Selma, Alabama. There is a photograph

of this recent bridge crossing. It is a small gathering but the post

has many who wish to view this. It is such a big deal that every

year, not always on the exact days of the peaceful marches, people

go to Selma to cross the bridge. To allow the freedom to soak into

their weary bones. It has not been an easy battle, even to this day.

 

The 50th “Golden” celebration of this famous event will be called

the “Bridge Crossing Jubilee,” held  March 5-9th, 2015. There is

still time to join this annual event for its anniversary.

 

Its kick off  Gospel church music concert will be on March 1, 2015

in Selma, Alabama. The memory of the deceased little girl innocents

will be shining their angelic glow upon the listeners.

 

This all is in tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr. and of those who

walked across that bridge, some who died or were severely injured.

It is also in triumph, progress made and the way one huge step can

make an equally large impact on a country or world.  After all, our

President Obama may never had made it as far as he did, had not

those everyday men and women walkers had chosen to stay home,

out of fear.

 

The ending of the movie, “Selma,” lists several people whose lives had

changed due to their bridge walk. They include someone who had lived

over 80 years, a black man, never getting a chance to vote. There was

the white woman, first name Viola, (I did not take notes in the darkened

and hushed movie theater) who had chosen to join forces and cross the

bridge on the third time. She died when she drove a black person home

being given the hateful epithet, possibly real or imagined, by a storyteller

of “white nigger.”  The one who rose to be a senator, one who wrote for

a paper and others, all had found and felt the tremendous impact that

came out of one day to remember.

 

I learned one thing, that I did not know since most of the story has

been retold and covered. This is still a powerful movie to watch.

I did not know about the three times the walk across the bridge

was carried out nor how each one ended.

 

This will not ‘spoil’ your viewing of “Selma,” but may make you pay

more close attention:

First time across the bridge, it appears to be one hundred walkers who

have decided to gather and try to make an attempt to rock the country.

There is a place where the leaders of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s close-

knit group gather, enjoy a hearty breakfast and there is joviality and

a sense of brotherhood. Then, sadly, there has to be choice to pick straws

who will be in the ‘front line.’ The details of who got the short straw will

not be revealed here.

 

This walk for the first time is filled with trepidation, since the sheriff of

Selma is extremely bigoted and even there are scenes with the governor,

George Wallace fearing what may happen. When they get to the precipice

of the bridge, a curved bridge where you must walk upwards and then

head downwards, you can see the footsteps slowing down.

 

The next time the group goes up the hill of the bridge, there is a much

larger group and there are reinforcements from priests, ministers and

others who are Caucasian. Their presence buoys the inner sanctum of

MLK, Jr.’s group, they feel vindicated for any wrongdoings and deaths

that have gone on in between. There is a tremendous surge of energy, as

they get to the crest of the bridge. MLK, Jr. stops, he kneels and he prays

silently. The rest of the thousands gathered arm in arm who are behind

him kneel and wait.  Again, I won’t reveal what transpires.

 

History is being made. I felt the emotions in the audience, the bated

communal intake of breaths.

The third time the group gathers, it is in full preparation for the walk

across the bridge. Martin Sheen portrayed the judge who allowed the

sanction of crossing the Selma bridge. The governor and the sheriff,

with his ignorant band of white supremacists, are not going to get this

group to stop their crossing. It is going to happen, there is a broad

expanse and larger numbers than any of the first two attempts, there

are 2/3rds of the group white, according to one of the sources I read.

 

I had not intended to see another emotional upheaval movie. The first

three Academy Award nominated films, were all tear-jerkers. I had felt

‘spent’ and looking forward to meeting my good friend, Gary, who is a

sports writer at the Columbus Dispatch. I had agreed on either going to

“Birdman” or “Grand Budapest Hotel.” The first is with Michael Keaton

and since I felt he was a sensitive past actor who played “Batman,” I

could count on not dropping any tears. I also was amused by the trailer

and write-ups of “Grand Budapest Hotel,” with the funny actors in it.

 

We arrived at the Columbus Gateway Film Center on High Street, to

find a long line of young people chattering and bunched in a thick

group going into the building and up the stairs. Gary and I asked about

the line, it was for the multiple theaters showing, “American Sniper.”

We skipped around this, while Gary whispered to me, “We can use the

old people’s card, should someone try to stop us.” We went up the busy

escalator and when we got to the top saw the huge and bustling area of

the ticket sellers in front of crowded lanes. I was not sure what was going

on but since I assumed Gary may be like many guys I know, I left the line

and went to ask the guard. He said the line on the stairs was coming up

to join the group here, but they were all going to the “American Sniper”

film. So, being a little pushy, Gary took me through the melee and we

got to the front, only to find out that the two easy going movies, one

with a super hero and the other with a group of wacky hotel employees,

were:  “Sold Out.”

 

I did not hesitate to say to Gary, “Let’s go see the movie, ‘Selma!'”

We got into the theater only to find it half full. We each said to the other,

this is sad. We both agreed we had not wished to see an emotional film,

but it may have ‘meant to be.’  I am so glad the karma had the other

two films packed and not allowing us to see this fine film.

 

I will say there are magnificent performances, the director and David

Oyelowo should have been given Academy Award nominations. I

won’t go into the whole debacle about why there is less diversity in

this awards competition, but I am just going to say I am happy that

People’s Choice and Golden Globes nominated this film,

since “Selma” is worthy.

 

The song “Glory,” sung with John Legend and the rapper, Common,

is very beautiful.  Remember, I have seen three of the other contender

movies and will tell you their songs are not as ‘rich’ in sound and

meaning.

 

Some thoughts to share about real and symbolic bridges:

~ We can choose to find our own private bridge to cross.

~ Peaceful choices make a difference.

~ Touching just one life, and changing it, is enough.

~ To be able to reach more lives proceed forward.

 

~ One action or kindness contributes to another producing:

a.  Domino effect

b. Ripple effect

c. Paying forward

 

~ However you label your decision to help someone, it is still help.

~ Emotions and feelings spread easily.

~ Take courage in expressing positive choices.

~ Sharing emotions is instinctive, shown in these two examples.

a. Babies in a nursery cry together. The first one sets off the rest of them.

b. Toddlers in a sandbox see or hear someone else cry, reaching for a toy.

One may hand theirs over, without concern or need for praise.

 

~Giving in and letting go of prejudices and preconceptions is elevating.

~ Love has no boundaries once this happens.

 

Written by Robin O. Cochran

(Not taken from any sources, other than my own feelings about Selma’s bridge.)

 

“The Breakthroughs Issue” of December, 2014 “Preventions” magazine is

a great source of news about health and healthy food choices.

 

A man making a profound difference in prosthetic equipment is featured

in an article called, “Out on a Limb.”

This man, Eythor Bender, is using the ‘bridge’ I listed above to use a “kind

action” to create these wonderful and more natural replacements for arms

and legs. Frustrated by the medical breakthroughs available only to the

“elite” in our society, those who are wealthy, he came up with a program.

“Unyq” is a San Francisco based company which uses 3-D printers to create

symmetrical body parts to the user’s healthy limb. This alone is remarkable,

since in the past they did not often ‘match’ the size or shape to the original

on the other side of the body.

 

Bender was recognized internationally during the New York Fashion Week,

2014. His bionics were on a model walking the runway. Sure this should

make him proud or feel good about himself, but this quote from Eythor B.

says it ‘all:’

 

“People tell me it feels like they’ve got their legs back for the first time

in their lives. That’s really something!”

 

Bender expressed happiness that the new Unyq program is being covered,

since he has made the prices low enough, by many insurance providers.

Keeping the price down, will meet the needs of most of the patients who

need realistic and comfortable prosthetics.

 

This article was uplifting and made me feel it met the ‘requirements’ of

crossing a ‘bridge’ in medicine, with its ripple effect going into all areas

of society and hopefully, the world.

 

Another creative health program which is still in the newer stage and not

necessarily FDA approved is, Immuno-Therapy. This is to fight cancer

through immune system injections. There are three stories, one man and

two women, who participated in this trial program who have seen their

melanoma disappear. This is another ‘bridge’ to cross, hopefully the first

start will be like MLK, Jr.’s first attempt to cross the Selma bridge, one

that will be followed repeatedly,  with more and more positive results.

 

 

 

World Views

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When people give me a film recommendation, I take this with a ‘grain of

salt.’ There are so many different interests, particular patterns to people’s

choices in what they choose to watch. This is true of television, movies,

theater, music and cultural events. There are some universal choices that

almost everyone enjoys once in awhile. International movies, where the

cinematography and images are breath-taking and fantastic, are ones that

I am thrilled to receive from someone I admire and pass on to others, too.

My friend, Beth, who writes about all kinds of international subjects,

along with her home town of Ann Arbor, Michigan and her little ones

that she teaches, included “Vivan Las Antiopodes” as one of her posts.

Here is her blog:

http://ididnthavemyglasseson.com

We have some kindred sisterhood, which I admit I have been close to

several other bloggers along the way, with similar tastes and interests.

Beth has a reason for her interest in Australia and grandchildren, yet

even I am sometimes surprised at such details as liking the same kind

of ice cream that we have connections beyond what I generally find in

my community and home town.

So, to get this movie, I had to mention my interest to the librarian,

who got online to seek whether it was located in our own library or

a part of our district library in Delaware County. Nope! It was from

Greene County, Ohio, the town of Xenia, where this film was sent for.

I watched it and took notes. I then re-watched it while eating dinner

the next night. It is awesome, beyond description in its simple theme

of how across the world, we are all similar. It is complex, in its terrains

and cultural differences. These four cities, chosen because they are

exactly diametrically opposed on the globe, are called, “antipodes.”

If you watch this, the picture gradually slants from the one place to

glide effortlessly, circuitously into the other one. It is hard to explain

but it shows the world on its axis, so to speak, literally turning from

the one location to the next. The dizzying effect is exhilarating!

 

Then it is philosophical, here in my own words, I try to explain the

effect this film had upon me:

 

“We are all mankind.

Look at us, trying to eke out existence where there are few resources.

This is for the desert and sparse land where hardly any green exists.

Where there are miles between homes, across divergent tundras of land.

Trying to make our way among a crowded city, winding between others,

taking care not to enter the personal spaces, but sometimes colliding.”

 

I felt the movie has themes that are universal, no need to try to interpret

or have the languages translated. Why worry about the subtexts? Just

watch this movie for all the reasons Beth mentioned, along with this

short summary of textures I tried to capture in words. There are so many

dimensions, you will see this if you check out Beth’s post on this, too.

 

Swans

Birds

Giraffes

Farmers

Workers

Shearers

Sheep

 

Joy

Dances

Ukulele

Expressions

Discordant tones

Musical instruments

Melodic chants

Staccato “coos”

Dissonant

Calm

 

Round

and

Round

 

Sparse

Simple

Solidarity

Separate

Solitude

 

Fluid

Flows

Frost

Foliage

Fields

 

Round

and

Round

 

Carts

Riders

Walkers

Bicyclists

Complicated

Intertwining

Rickshaw

Vehicles

Trucks

Cars

 

Stark

Rocky

Barren

Beauty

Splendor

Horizons

Grassy

Beach

Lush

 

Men

Women

Diversity

Young

Old

 

 

 

 

Bridges to Span

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In the snap of a finger, poof! Life is too short to worry,

wait on that special thing you wish to do or not cross that

bridge… This is about what chances that you must take,

face what obstacles you reach and tackle them: Head on!

My daughter in law, Trista, left me a text on Wednesday,

it asked for me, the family photographer, to check on any

photographs of her stepmom, Chris. I have known Trista for

almost seven years, her stepmom, six and a half years. Last

Christmas, Chris was told she had anywhere between four months

to a year to live. I snapped several photos, each celebration,

this year, birthdays, Easter, summer pool party, county fair

week, after Thanksgiving party was the last one I took a few

photos of Chris. Trista sounded cheerful in her text message,

“Check in your ‘arsenal’ of photos for ones that have the

kids with Chris.”

I texted her back at lunch, saying: “I will be going to the

library, have Felicia coming over for a movie and Mom night,

will look for pics while watching our Christmas movie.”

Everyone in the family knows we absolutely love the movie,

“Love Actually!” (Warning: it is rated “R” for some very

frank parts with female breasts and the “F” word is used

liberally. But, seriously, it is the BEST Christmas movie,

ever, for adults. Lots of stories weave around the theme

of “love.” We watched it, I found nine very nice photos of

Chris, told Trista that I would stop by on Thursday, after

work.

If you are a “regular” reader, you will note I did nothing

on my wordpress, yesterday. I did post something about Brad

Pitt on Wed. evening before heading home for dinner, snuggles

and a slumber/movie party with the youngest daughter.

Upon arriving at Jamie and Trista’s home on Thursday, I was

sprinting up their stairs to their porch, waited for the

inevitable child to unlock the door and was pounced on by

one of the three dogs. The hugs were pretty long lasting

from my M & M girls. Then, Marley released me, looked up

into my face and said,

“At least you are not dead!”

I looked at Trista, who was working on her homework on her

laptop, and she nodded with her lip trembling just a bit.

“When did this happen? I thought you wanted photos of Chris

because you were making a collage or montage photographic

masterpiece for her Christmas gift?”

She told me,

“I didn’t want to text or call you but Chris passed away on

Wednesday.” (Guilt rose up in me, so ashamed that I didn’t

call or ask what she was needing the photos for.)

Trista quietly said, “It is okay, she is at peace and don’t

feel guilty! I heard from them early in the morning, wanted

to take off with all four children to see her, since the

Hospice caretaker said it would be ‘soon.'”

She added, “Dad told me to take the kids to school, not to

rush and come with the little ones, that would cheer Chris

up. She died while I was on my way to pick up Theresa who

had dropped Hailey off at school, too.” (Theresa is one of

Trista’s best friends.

Jamie peeked out of the delicious and aromatic kitchen and

asked me, “Can you stay for dinner with us, Mom?”

I said, “I can help however I can and of course, I would

love to eat dinner with you!”

We ate grilled steak fajitas filled with rice, corn, onions

and tomatoes. There was a spicy sauce for those of us who

like a little spice in our lives! Smile!

The kids seemed to be doing all right, I told them each I

was so sorry for the loss of their other grandma, “Grammy

Chris.”

After dinner, the kids went outdoors to shoot off these

rubber band ‘rockets’ that Trista and Jamie had purchased

at the dollar store. I asked Trista when the services were

going to be, told her that I was going to have to work on

Sunday while they were going on. I offered to watch kids

on Sat. from afternoon until evening. She declined, said

they were still going to Dayton to see my ex and his wife,

‘Mimi’ and ‘Poppy.’

There are only a few memories that I would like to briefly

share, since this is about life and bridges to cross. I know,

and believe with all my heart, that Chris is in heaven. I

am sure that there would be others, looking from a distance,

at her wild and checkered past, her marriage to Trista’s

Dad and their continued addiction problems as ‘negatives’

but Chris’ heart was always in the ‘right place.’ She

absolutely loved helping others and gave a lot of her

time and energy to her grandchildren. When we hugged the

last time I saw her I told her that I loved her and would

pray for her. It was that Saturday after Thanksgiving.

She had the “Grace” to admit,

“I’ll take all the prayers you can give me!”

When I had the most fun time with Chris, was on Trista

and Jamie’s wedding day. We had a huge pile of folding

chairs, card tables and rented longer tables. People

knew it would be outdoors, so most were bringing a

covered dish to share and their own portable chairs.

We had the stack of tablecloths to put on each table,

late September and we were battling a breeze so were

anchoring each with a heavy rock, then taping the

white plastic tablecloths with packing tape and then,

replacing the rocks with vases of flowers filled with

water, they seemed ‘heavy enough’ to hold and not flip

over. We were laughing, we stopped and went up into

Trista’s Grandma Judy’s house and have a cup of coffee

and peeked at the triple decker, gorgeous cake that

Jamie and Trista had made. I told Chris that I had tried

the icing and the cake of their “practice” cake a week

ago. The white chocolate fondant icing was ‘to die for!’

We went back to struggling with the weather to get the

tables set up, the beautiful table for the wedding party

of three young women and three young men plus my son and

his soon to be wife looked ‘professional’ we agreed, once

we were finished.

Chris had dark hair and glasses, was a thin and tall woman

with a friendly and sweet face. She had small features and

while guests arrived throughout the day, many asked who did

not know us, were we sisters? I would like to say we became

that close. Not quite, since it was not the stuff of calling

each other on the phone, nor the going to visit each other’s

home… It was each and every occasion for the years we knew

each other, knowing we could go in the bathroom together,

I would like to say we ‘could count on each other’ to say a

nice compliment and hug each other upon greeting and leaving.

Some say there is a tunnel while dying and that you will see

a ‘light at the end of the tunnel.’ I have mentioned that once

my Dad’s heart stopped and my Mom ran into the hospital hallway

to yell for help. It was late at night, that once he arrived

“back” from being revived, a clear four to five minute gap,

the machine started beeping and his heartbeat started again.

Dad joked in a jovial way the next day, while we all arrived to

see him,

“Hey, I went to heaven on a space ship! I rode it through a

warm, brightly lit tube and once I got there, I saw my father

and mother, other’s hands reached out to touch me,” Then

my Dad would add, “And I guess if the likes of ME can make it

into Heaven, anyone can!”

I hope that Chris crossed over a bridge or up a tube or into

the Light. I would like to add a few bridges I would like to

cross. Maybe this is my new “Bucket List!”

Bear Mountain Bridge, New York:
This bridge spans one of the narrowest spots along the Hudson
River. It is surrounded by mountains. It is considered one of
the most ‘picturesque bridges in America.’ If you drive up the
winding road to the top of Bear Mountain, you will see a most
beautiful sight of Manhatten, 45 miles away. (Free)

Old Seven Mile Bridge, Florida:
This bridge was laid by railroad tycoon, Henry Flagler.
This is the only roadway to Key West made over 100 years
age. In 1982, the old bridge was replaced by a new one
only a short distance to the south of the original one.
You can still walk or bike across the first one, more
than 2 miles into the ocean, where you may spot pelicans,
sharks and dolphins. (Free)

Perrine Bridge, Idaho:
This is a steel bridge that arcs like a rainbow, 486 feet
above the Snake River. This is the only bridge where someone
can parachute from a fixed object, called BASE jumping.
This, amazingly enough, is allowed year-round without a
permit. A short distance of only one mile to the East,
you can still see the dirt ramp that Evel Knievel made
his attempt to jump the Snake River canyon, (Free)

Wheeling Suspension Bridge, West Virginia:
This is the oldest bridge in my choices of wishing to
cross large and exciting bridges! This 1,010 foot long
bridge was opened in 1849 before the Brooklyn Bridge
was built. This one was the ‘example’ possibly for
the B.B. looking very similar in appearance. Walk
halfway across the moving, undulating bridge to view
barges passing below on the Ohio River. It would be
wonderful and exciting to view movies or listen to
concerts on the waterfront below. (Free)

Royal Gorge Bridge:
This bridge is high above the Arkansas River, 1053 feet!
You can take an incline railway to the river below, for
$26 to the bridge, park and railway. There is a theme park
adjacent to this 1929 wood-planked bridge, but crossing this
would be much scarier than any rides! This is the only one
I would need to bring my wallet for!

Whatever your beliefs about dying are, we all will experience

this through losses of loved ones, both family and friends.

We eventually, inevitably will face this one day for ourselves.

I guess “We’ll face that bridge when we come to it.”