A Delightful Drawbridge Perspective

No wonder I have always thought this job was so magical. . .

I absolutely love it when someone says something that makes me look at things in a completely different light. That happened today, and the topic was drawbridges. After working on drawbridges for 21 years, you’d think I’d have contemplated them from every possible angle, but this was a fresh perspective for me, and I was delighted.

The comment in question was added to one of my most popular blog posts, entitled Bridge Symbolism. I don’t know Shubhanshi Gupta personally, but she writes a blog called Petrichor, and, based on my admittedly brief glance, it seems to be quite full of profound thoughts. I may have to give it a closer look.

In the meantime, here is the comment she left for me:

“what I find interesting about is how they manage to integrate two different worlds together at the same time- land and water. It’s like the bridge is rooted in the ground under the water body, and it’s surrounded by water everywhere till eyes can see, but deep down, it’s touching land at the base and both it’s two ends. And in spite of all this, it lets us transit over water without having to touch it.”

Whoa. It’s as if she has stripped bridges down to their most basic components. And she draws attention to the fact that they are straddling two elements, earth and water, protecting us from one, and transporting us to the other. Bridges are portals, if you think about it. They help us transition from one place to another.

Perhaps that’s why so many people linger on my bridge and gaze down at the water. They are gathering themselves for what’s on the other side, while perhaps feeling nostalgic about what, or whom, they just left. No wonder I have always thought this job was so magical. I may never look at a bridge in the same way again.

Thank you, Shubhanshi, for your insight! I hope you’ll share many more with us on my blog. I always enjoy new perspectives. The broader the horizon, the more one gets to see.

I’ll leave you with another delightful perspective in the form of art:

Surreal Waterdrops by Mousette on DeviantArt. Check out her full body of work here.

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Exploring Vancouver: The Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden

In an oft overlooked corner of Chinatown in Vancouver, Canada, on the other side of an unassuming moon gate, lies an oasis of beauty and tranquility. The Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden is the first garden of its type outside of China. It’s based on a traditional Ming Dynasty scholar’s garden, and it is exquisite.

Not to be mistaken for the free garden just outside this one, which is also quite beautiful and worth exploring, this one is kind of an inner sanctum, and requires an admission fee. Oh, but it’s worth it. Especially if you take the tour, which explains things that you’d never realize yourself if you just took a casual walk through.

Nothing about this garden is random or unplanned. It’s all based on the Taoist belief in the tension and harmony of opposites, expressed in the Yin and Yang. It also incorporates the four Chinese elements of rock, water, plants and architecture. These elements, thoughtfully placed, mean that yin and yang energy is everywhere in this wonderful place. You can feel it all around you.

Yin and Yang. Light and Dark. Smooth and Rough. Feminine and Masculine. Round and Square. Water and Stone. All these things come into play in this garden, and the duality produces such a sense of beauty and peace that you’ll be sorely tempted to pitch a tent there and never leave.

As evidence of the thoughtfulness of the design, in subtle locations throughout you will see the bat symbol, because in one of the Chinese languages, the word for bat sounds like the word for luck. Also, they used a special clay in the pond to intentionally make the water a cloudy jade green to better reflect images back from the surface, and it also provides a nice contrast to the koi swimming below.

All the limestone rocks came from Lake Tai in China, a lake with acidic water that gives the rocks a magical, weathered appearance. Our guide said that this lake is considered so special that families will drop large blocks of limestone in there and note the location on GPS so that a few hundred years from now, their family will be able to retrieve these rocks for their gardens.

The designers of this garden were also very aware of the passage of time. They intentionally considered the changing seasons, the movement of the sun across the sky, and the differences of rainy vs. sunny days. You could go back there a hundred times and have a different view.

A delightful addition throughout the garden is the placement of Penjing, which is the Chinese equivalent of the Japanese Bonsai. These little artistically formed trees and rocks are fascinating. Little worlds of their own.

I could go on for hours about this amazing place, but you will simply have to go there someday to get the full effect. Below are a few of my pictures from my visit.