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Bridges, we cross many of them as we go thru life. We cross many physically, but we cross many, many more figuratively, or, metaphorically. This isn’t about the physical ones though.

The figurative/ metaphorical spans are the ones that lead our souls on to new acquaintances. We cross them and form new bonds of friendship or deepen existing bonds by social reinforcement. Some of these bridges are weak to begin with but grow stronger each day that they stand. Others weaken in the winds of life and see their foundations eaten away by the waters that flow below. We walk across a new bridge with every person we meet. In the best situations we meet someone halfway. In the worst, we start across only to watch a conflagration start from the far side. We should never forget how easy it is to set fire to a bridge.

Every human being has the potential to succeed in life. Not everyone has the means or environmental stimulation to do so. Even so, the things you have or don’t have are never anywhere near a good reason to ‘burn a bridge’. Many of the bridges you will use may languish in disrepair. They may become covered in dust and debris. Arrows, bullets, bombs, and stones may fly from the far side but you must never allow such projectiles to initiate your hand of destruction. Just put up a toll gate. The soul on the other side will get the point. If not, still, refrain from throwing matches.

The act of ‘burning a bridge’ is not the end all it seems to be. The charred remnants will remain for a long time for both parties to see should they simply turn mentally to look. What is ended forever is that relationship. It will never exist again in that form. Yes, that bridge might be replaced with a new one, but the relationship between the two people will be just as new. Reminders of what used to be will pop up in odd places. Pieces of old girders, a rusted signpost, chunks of burned asphalt and cement, they’ll all show up somewhere on the new construct. If you two are lucky you can talk about them and yank the eyesores out. Make sure you cast them over the side together.

There are those who burn bridges at the drop of a hat. They are the ones who spin their wheels down to the rims and keep standing on the throttle. They are the ones who have the deepest mistrust for everyone they meet. They are the ones who hold themselves outside of normal interaction with the rest of society. They are the ones who blame ‘it’ on the rest of the world. They sometimes have great manipulative skills. With that said, I am now the one throwing projectiles at them, and that is in no way my intention.

I have to wonder what makes them initiate the conflagration. On our journey across do they become perturbed when they see we will not meet in the exact middle? Do they see us a bit out of step with themselves? Bridge burners, (now I’m labeling, and judging?), accuse readily that the rest of the world wastes ‘their’ time. On the contrary! I believe that making connections with others is never a waste of time, no matter the outcome.

I have burned bridges in my lifetime. I’m not proud of the fact. So, hurl the stones at my glass house if you must. I have, however, struggled to keep the tally to a minimum. I readily feel that is a virtue worthy of preservation.

What with there being two ends to every span, there are two sides to every story. There are two minds that must make the effort to meet. When minds meet society moves. When bridges burn the loss of that particular relationship in its respective tone of interactions is permanent. It’s something I never take lightly. It peeves me to no end when someone leans in to prod me to burn a bridge. It’s like they’ve drenched the bridge between us in gasoline and handed me a lit match. Likewise, my reaction is the same for those who seem to take pride in burning bridges.

When bridges burn muses scatter, when the smoke clears not all of them return. One consolation is that new muses do show up. They take their places alongside the other resilient ones. They are all of the creaking metal in the structure, and the wind in the railing.