Flashback: When a Bridge is a Roadside Cathedral & There’s Water Underneath …

As the month of October draws to a close, so does my little anniversary series, Flashback.

All month long, I’ve been interspersing my current work with some of my favorite throwback posts — all in celebration of alpha // whiskey // foxtrot’s one-year anniversary.  This is one of two last posts I’ll be sharing with you from a//w//f’s inception.  It’s a special one – brimming ideas that still challenge me twelve months later.

Enjoy — and let’s go hunting for a little redemption together. ❤



Yesterday, I went down to the river to think.

Rivers are good for thinking, like trails are good for thinking.  But while a trail, with its steady upward climb, always seems to lead me toward something — a revelation, a sense-making moment — rivers are about what’s washing away. 


The Roanoke River winds quick and green through this town.  It flows in loops and whorls past parks and greenways, then curls close to kiss the edge of Old Southwest.  From there, it zags east.  Seaward.

If you were following the river just a little ways past the city itself, you’d come to an old dam with what looks like a sand-colored stone house perched atop.  Just a little farther and the river would dip beneath the Blue Ridge Parkway, the bridge of the highway floating high, high above.

Now come to the river from a different angle.  From the parkway itself.  Drive until you reach the bridge, and pull your car over into a narrow slice of parking lot just at the edge of the ravine.

Walk down the trail to the water.


It’s a quiet river, but like all rivers, it speaks: 

Let it go.   


Yesterday, I walked down that path as stormclouds gathered above.

I stared up at the bridge looming high and white above me.  In this light, its tall supports reminded me, somehow, of gothic flying buttresses.

It was just an overpass in the woods, but for a moment it felt like a roadside cathedral.


I climbed down the rocks where water rested in pools, like tiny mirrors full of sky.  I sat down at the river’s edge.  Watched its greenness furl past. 

Water under the bridge. 

And I thought about how the water passes under the bridge and flows away.  Flows away, but it does not disappear.

The water surges toward the sea.  Freezes into ice.  Sublimates into cloud, settles as frost, as dew.  

And maybe this is what redemption means:  not an erasure, but a transfiguration.

The water that once nearly drowned us falls later as rain, and greens the earth.

We walk out into the rainstorm with faces and palms upturned, and drink.


I waited by the water until my heart begin to release what it needed to release.  

I waited until a wind kicked up, coming through the trees.  Until the clouds opened.

Back inside my car, I watched the rain run down my windshield, silver and gleaming.  And I began to believe that the water under the bridge could be transformed into something beautiful.  That I might make it beautiful.

Which is what a river does.

And what Art does.

And what the Divine does.


I went home, and I wrote. 



    1. No books yet! Just musings and ramblings. :).

      It’s kind of you to say that. There is a lot of story in me, but it hasn’t always been easy for me to put it out there. One day, maybe…

      Thank you for the encouragement! 🙂


      1. You know what? Instead…it seems that stories stem away from you in a really easy way! It is a really pleasure to read you, I am not kind but simply honest! Thanks

        Liked by 1 person

  1. I relate to this magical feeling. Like honestly, doesn’t it feel like the beauty of a part of the Universe is just unfolding in front of your eyes? That special moment when you’re so comfortably silent and admiring and inhaling the scent and AAAHHH! I LOVE THAT FEELING! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I replied but I am not sure it made it through so forgive me if this is a double reply.
    I couldn’t help but think, when I read the Cathedral imagery and the reference to the water, about the living water. The living water flowing through the Cathedral, willing washing all who would enter it to be cleaned.
    Thank you for this work, your writing is quite moving.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Another lovely post! I agree with all the comments, your are a wonderful writer and connect emotions to things we sometimes forget to notice. Thank you for the reminder “water under the bridge”. I’m letting to much pool up instead of flowing, I need to flow.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! 🙂

      I’ve learned that everybody has their own unique style, & the more I write, the more I just sound like Me. Which is better than being a copy of anybody else.

      I bet your style is amazing, too. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Looove the Cathedral!! So glad I found your blog, what a treasure! Your writing is Art. I have an art blog….well, I wish I could paint like you write 🙂 Looking forward to reading more of you. ~Heidi

    Liked by 1 person

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