Smalling Bridge has spanned the Watauga River for seventy years and is one of the few truss bridges left in east Tennessee. I know two truss bridges have been replaced in Carter County in the past couple of years, and another on Highway 75 near the Tri-Cities Airport was dismantled this year. The old truss bridges are coming down, going away.
As these bridges, old mills, and the railroads fade from experience and into history, I realize that if I want to photograph any of them, I have to step up my efforts. When I was a kid, truss bridges were commonplace, and they really appealed to my little inner engineer. They looked like things we could build with Erector Sets.
What I really like about truss bridges is being able to see off the bridge, see down to the river. You can feel the open air and a certain sense of adventure, danger, as you cross over. On modern, concrete bridges, you’re fortunate to glimpse, over the parapet, any water a half mile downstream. While I shouldn’t downplay the importance of the broad, safe bridges of today, I can point out that in our efforts to build roadways to be faster, safer, and efficient, we’re losing the experience of travel for discovery’s sake. We just want to get from point A to point B quickly, in one piece.
There are a couple of “take away” thoughts I like to share with you. First, I encourage you in your travels to seek out new routes you have not explored, even if you’re just driving home from work, just for discovery’s sake. Find some old things that would be new experiences for you.
The other is, in your walk with God, do you always “go” the same way? Would your life be different, maybe a little more adventurous, if you sought God at every turn? What if you spent more time reading through the Bible (and not just the popular stories), and a little less time reading this week’s bestseller? What if you spent five more minutes a day in prayer?
God didn’t intend for us to take a spiritual freeway to Heaven; He wants us to take time—lots of time—all our time, to be His and to be in His story.