TO BUILD A BRIDGE, ideally it would already be there. Construction of a bridge is based on this idea.

To accomplish this, you put some part of the bridge in place and use it
to build the rest. Construction usually begins with anchors on either
end, or towers in the middle. Then, the parts of the span that are
built first become the structure that supports the construction of the
rest. Sometimes a temporary structure is used to support the permanent
structure while it’s being built — an aspect of the same idea. With a
suspension bridge, the towers are built, cables are strung to the
anchors, and then the rest of the bridge is hung from the cables. You
have to start somewhere.

Yet you must cross the space in your mind first. Architecture and
engineering are proof that what materializes in this world begins as
thought. Bridges take a lot of thought.

Then they need to be drawn on paper. As my grandfather, a draftsman,
often said, for everything you see in the world, there is a drawing.
Then, that increases in detail until there is some technical
understanding of how the structure might work. This is particularly
true for bridges, which exist in reams of mathematics long before they
exist in steel and concrete.

All the while, you need to accept that, at least today, what most
people think is impossible is actually going to happen. Yet to the
bridge designer, there is a sense of necessity that drives the process.
You know you must do it, therefore, you do.

About building bridges, we can make a few other generalizations.

To go over, you must go up first.

To go up, you start at the bottom.

That often involves going under the water. That aspect of the work
involves starting in the mud. At this stage, a mixing of the elements
is necessary; something solid is being built on something previously
thought of as soft and fluid. In order to do that, it’s necessary to
get to the bottom of things, and to find firm Earth beneath what looked
like a river or a bay. Then, more Earth must be moved into the water:
concrete, bricks, stone, steel.

It can seem futile building in mud, but it can be done. It’s just
necessary to recognize that beneath the mud is the ground, and to find

To build a bridge, you use everything you know from every other form of
design and construction. You must find people who will cooperate; who
are not afraid of heights or of going beneath the river, or the
riverbed; you must be resourceful. But most of all, you and the people
working on your bridge need to have faith.

Often the bridge begins as the idea of a single person. Then a few
people work on designing the bridge. A few more work on building it;
some of them risk their lives or lose their lives in the process. When
it’s finished, a great many may cross effortlessly, and safely, and
it’s left in place for many generations.

We are all designers of our own bridge to the future — and of our
bridge to the core of ourselves. The bridge we design will take us from
one part of our lives to the next; from one state of being to the next.
From where we stand on any given day, it may seem impossible, yet it
requires faith, and we get there because we must get there.

(taken from “How to build a bridge – Eric Francis” in Planet Waves Weekly site)


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