Sunday, February 19, 2012

Return of the Comstock Covered Bridge, Part IV

Last October, I took a picture of the Comstock Covered Bridge in East Hampton for the first time from this angle. It was just the beam supports for the deck, nothing more. Four months later, it's a bridge. It was open! A group of guys were fishing for trout in the poorly named Salmon River below it, laughing and having a great time. Moms and Dads and kids were running through from one side to the other. An older couple with a service dog came down a path, went over the bridge. The bridge wasn't necessary for traffic, and I doubt it really does much for tourism -- it's something for the locals to enjoy. It brings the community together just as it brings East Hampton and Colchester together.

Inside the Comstock Covered Bridge
A friend asked, "why bridges"? I told him it might as well be something, but I've been thinking about the answer to that question all day. I was in Westfield, Massachusetts, hunting a bridge I'd read about in a comment on a news post about construction on the Willimansett Bridge. I was twenty feet above a river on an abandoned railroad bridge. If I wanted to cross it, I had the choice of running across 100' of a four inch beam, or chancing the wide gaps between rotting ties. I'll write more about that later.

But, that is why. That is the reason. My kids are grown and I'm divorced. There is nothing I need to buy that I can't buy in town or over the internet. Nobody wants me to go with them anywhere. There's no real reason to leave town. There's no reason to leave the apartment. Most days, there's no reason to even leave my room.

When the cops impounded my car nearly three years ago and I was forced to take bus, bicycle or walk everywhere until last summer when I got a car again, I was devastated for awhile. But then, I didn't really need a car because I never went anywhere, anyway. I started taking my bike to work. That's when I found out that that bridge I'd been driving over every day, the Bulkeley Bridge, was historic and beautiful. That's when I realized that I'd been living in Manchester for years and had never even been downtown, unless I'd gotten lost.

Beams from the original bridge were used in its reconstruction
Since I started bridge hunting, I've been all over the state. I've climbed mountains in the Berkshires, dipped my fingers in Long Island Sound, seen a hundred small towns each with their own beauty, walked the Appalachian Trail, gone on a cruise on the Connecticut ... and started enjoying my life and looking forward to my next day trip, the next small town, the next mountain top, the next bridge.

First few years I worked at my current employer, I didn't take vacations because where would I go? Just stay home? Watch television? Forget the world?

I'd rather choose life.


  1. yay!!! And the Forth bridge is cool. You would so love Scotland...

  2. I've never been through a covered bridge like this. This is great! The best part? I'm glad you're going out and enjoying what has always been around you with renewed vigor AND exploring. :)

  3. Gets me out of the house :) I spend a lot of time at Comstock Bridge because it's close. I never even knew about it all these years!