Just to the east of California, MD highway 4 crosses the Patuxent River on its way to Solomons Island, MD. The mixture of steel and concrete that carries the traffic is named after some former governor of the state, but a lot of the local folks call it the "White Knuckle Bridge".

It is a two lane ribbon with no shoulder at all -- just a thin concrete barrier to prevent any slip on the steering wheel from plunging one into the watery abyss. It soars high enough into the heavens to allow navy ships to pass underneath, and the rate of ascent would put some roller coasters to shame.

The first time I laid eyes on this demented engineer's creation, was on a frigid winter evening in 1999. The wind was really blowing and there had been snow earlier in the day. As I rounded a turn on Hwy 4, suddenly I was on the approach to the bridge, with no way to turn around. There it was! The sight was awesome, and aweful. There was nothing I could do but proceed on. The only time my hands left the wheel was to wipe the cold sweat of my palms on my pants. It was one of the scariest moments of my life.

It is rather obvious that I did not perish that trip, nor on the return later that night. That in no way alleviated the dread I felt last week when I knew I would be staying on Solomons Island and thus traveling over "The Bridge" several times.

It turns out that Solomons Island in the summertime is truly a pleasant place to be, with its sailboats, quaint shops, and good food. Watching the sunset over the Patuxent Bay from the deck of the Lighthouse Restaurant is a wonderful and relaxing experience.

OK, you are probably wondering where I am going with all this. My purpose is not to brag about my stay at Solomons, except maybe a little. Rather, I would like to point out that we all have bridges in life that we must cross, and they involve varying measures of risk. From the perspective where we start of our percieved inadequacies and our disappointment in others, we may not be able to see the outcome our journey will produce. But we must not be complacent, or disillusioned, or fearful.

Bridges of relatioship must be built and crossed, because there are specific souls waiting just for us, and both travelers have need of what the other has to offer.


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