Farm life: Creek vs. bridge

Cindy ArpPowell

There’s a small creek on our farm. It’s usually charming, filled with water striders, crawdads, and believe it or not, tiny small-mouth bass. Through the years we’ve had several bridges crossing the creek – anything from a couple of planks to pretty little things lovingly crafted. It all works fine until there’s a storm, after which the pretty little things float down to the next farm, generally in pieces.

When our younger son, Jesse, was in elementary school, he rode the bus home daily. The bus let him off directly at our driveway, a good thing because as a teacher I was always a little later than he was coming home. All was well until the bus route changed and the driver let several kids off at a stop down the road. A neighbor shepherded the kids across the busy country road, but that still left Jesse walking on the side of the road all the way up to our driveway.

To avoid the road, Jesse would cross a neighbor’s field, turn left and come onto our property at the far side of the creek. He could cross the water there and be in our backyard.

With a creek that could be high, we needed a stable bridge. Dan to the rescue with bridge beams and heavy planks, intent on building a bridge to accommodate not only Jesse, but our tractor.

By now it was winter, and parts of the creek were frozen. Part of this building project required Dan to straddle a portion of the bridge. He was hammering away when he lost his balance, executed a slow-motion fall and landed on his back in the creek. After lying there a minute, and deciding he wasn’t dead, he limped his way back up to the house.

Soon afterwards, a determined Dan finished the bridge. It was and is a strong, sturdy, built-to-last bridge.

I have faith in Dan’s building abilities, but God’s had several renovations plans for the creek. We’ve had floods; we’ve had creek re-routings caused by erosion; and during last week’s storm, God sent in a demolition team.

Rain and wind, accompanied by continuous lightning and thunder, took down three trees by the bridge, a large troublesome stump and several logs we’ve been meaning to move. It’s all rather exciting in a sigh-inducing sort of way. I’m happy about the missing stump and logs. I’m very happy that the bridge still holds, but I see a future of tree clearing around the bridge.

During the pandemic many felt fenced in and bored. Forced to slow down, unable to fulfill some of what felt like necessary obligations, farm life rarely left us bored. We had a bridge to watch, blue herons to chase off, and myriads of other projects to maintain or start. There are exciting doings in Cindyville and DanLand. Stay tuned!

Cindy Arp | hiker, reader, nana to the world’s best grandson and eternally curious.


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