For the last several weeks, I’ve been walking around in the front yard wondering what to do with the huge piles of logs and branches left behind by the men who cut down our unfortunate threat trees. Eventually, I hope to reuse as much of the debris as possible, either for firewood or some other useful things. As a start, I used some of the pieces as borders for footpaths while also collecting a lot of the brush into piles. Then I got the bright idea to use two of the leftover stumps as supports for a bench. I nailed three long pieces to the tops of the stumps to form the bench seat. As I continued to lay down borders in the newly open area created by the felling of the trees, the new path I was creating led itself directly to the west side of Paul’s Creek. Naturally, this led me to decide that I needed to build another bridge across the creek.
Those who didn’t know my father, Paul, might think that these creative tree recycling ideas were coming out of my own brain. In fact, all I was doing was channeling my dad. He did a whole bunch of things just like these, using fallen trees and branches to build stuff rather than buying lumber. (He also bought a ton of lumber to build stuff, and also often saved used lumber when he had to tear down some of his projects. Guess who has a bunch of used lumber stored in the garage for future projects?) In other words, I am becoming my father, just as the old adage goes. Every day I seem to be more like him.
But anyway, back to the story. Why did I need to build a bridge across the creek? To get to the other side, of course! As you’ll see in the photos, some of the logs were quite large and required a great deal of effort to move. In true Paul fashion I had to do it all completely by myself. The only tools I used were a pry bar, relying on the ancient inventions of the wheel and the lever to get the logs in position, a hand saw to cut the bridge deck pieces, and a hammer and nails to hold everything together. (I also downed a fair number of Ibuprofen tablets to deal with the resulting aches and pains and put on a few Band-Aids to cover various cuts.)
Once I built the bridge, I thought maybe I should give it a name. I just finished watching the Masters (congrats to champion Sergio Garcia!) and naturally enjoyed seeing the players walk across the famous Hogan and Sarazen bridges. I myself walked across the famous Swilcan Bridge at the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews, as documented elsewhere on this site. My new bridge won’t be so famous, of course. I thought of a few ideas, including Bridge to Nowhere, Bridge to the Other Side, Paul’s Bridge, Dave’s Bridge, Saari Bridge, but none of those seemed to capture the spirit of the thing. Then it hit me like a ton of bricks – this bridge is a connection to my dad, who was born in 1913 and died in 1997. It’s a bridge to the past, a Bridge to the Twentieth Century.
I have three fine sons, Matt (not to be confused with Matt Davidson), Nick, and Brian. If any of them are reading this, I’m sure their eyes are rolling. I used to roll my eyes when my dad was building benches and bridges out of recycled trees, too. But I have some advice for the lads – you might as well embrace this silliness, because it just may be your future.
Now, on to the rest of those fallen trees and branches. Maybe another fifty paths, twenty benches, a dozen bridges …