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Canals and Bridges


Believe me, it looked much nicer in real life.

Spring has definitely arrived on the East Coast of the U.S. and not being outdoors at every moment, despite the infiltration of pollen, is too hard to do.

I was lucky enough to go running (and then walking, let’s be honest) along a tow path where I live near a beautiful canal. This was a very contemplative time for me – the kind that I don’t get while walking alone in the city or inside, for example. There’s something about the act of moving through the environment, regardless of where and at what pace, that is very thought provoking, for me at least.

Along the way, there are small bridges that connect local roads in adjacent neighborhoods over the canal. It’s hard not to take notice of the rustic red steel cutting through a light blue haze drenched with the pastels of surrounding flora. It is as scenic as any postcard, if you ask me.

Though I have been in remission from what I can only refer to as “metamorphadosis” – the obsessive ability to find metaphor at an annoying rate for almost anything, it came surging back this past weekend on the tow path.

Here’s the scene – so much disruption going on in my life right now and me, walking my way through it, all too aware that this year represents new work, new tax filing status, new residence, new parental definition (two teenagers …for the price of three, or four) and me, trying hard to move away from planning and thinking about the future and learning to just have faith in the moment. That’s when I looked up and saw the canal in front of me, straight ahead, and the bridge crossing in the opposite direction – a metaphor for the exact approach needed, for me anyway.

You see, it’s not as if I can’t see a general path forward to follow as a parent, son, friend, and employee but sometimes life is not a calm, serene postcard. Sometimes things happen that aren’t simply laid out before you. They require bridges – bridges to get you to a spot in a short period of time to set you on the right path again. These bridges can come in the form of friends, strangers or serendipity, but never coincidence, because there is no such thing.

Unfortunately, not all bridges present themselves as a clear way to traverse the seemingly un-scalable. Much like those old posters from the 90s where you had to stare deep within a land of squiggly lines to see the 3-D unicorn, many times we have to focus, harder than we have ever focused before, to identify what bridges surround us or lie within us. They are there. We just have to find them. Sometimes, they even help us realize that there are other canals to follow, too.

Until next time,


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