You see that? That bridge? That’s the swinging bridge at Grandfather Mountain, NC. My wife took that shot of the bridge. A remarkable, yet towering and imposing feat of engineering. It’s the essence of the struggle between man vs. his environment, a mile above sea level. You probably look at it and see a pretty black and white photo. A placid photograph of winter’s splendor.
What you can’t gather through the photo is the fact it was 7 degrees above 0 and there was a 25+ mph wind blowing on the mountain. No matter how I might edit and Photoshop it, you won’t have that perspective unless you were there or you talked to my wife or her friend Dee. This is not a kind photo.
I had heard about the bridge at Grandfather Mountain through the years. It was always talked about with a sense of awe, along with a healthy dollop of both fear and dread. She was on it once before, when she was a little girl. It scared the crap out of her. Wind blowing, bridge swaying, and there she was in the middle. All she wanted to do was get across the damn thing.
And so that’s what she did. It may have been 30 years later, but she did it. She conquered something that was, until that moment she crossed it, unconquerable. I’ve been married to her for 15 years, known her for more than that. This is, technically speaking, a pretty big deal.
Personally, I find this whole story inspiring. Oh yeah, she could’ve waited for better weather. She could’ve decided at the last minute not to do it. She could’ve turned around after she started crossing the bridge. But she did none of those things. She crossed to the other side, in 7 degree weather with a 25+ mph wind.
So forgive me if I get a little wound up over this little feat. Because given the conditions she did it under and the emotional stranglehold this feat has had her in, it’s something worth celebrating. And it means a lot more once you know the back story. If she did this on a 60 degree day with no wind, the crossing wouldn’t have meant much. You – and I – probably would’ve let out a gigantic “meh.” Ok, I wouldn’t have, because she’s my wife and I know it still would have been a huge deal.
But this; this, is not just huge. It’s bold.