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Susquehanna Life

Rusty Steel Bridges

Mar 15, 2015 11:41AM ● By Susan Emeline Bills
 Rusty steel railroad bridges are a thing of beauty in Pennsylvania.

Here we are in March, the in-between time of year when winter melts into spring, and frozen slabs of river become tiny blobs of slush before disappearing entirely into the flow and swirl.
It is now before the trees leaf out, and the weeds grow tall enough to obstruct the view and after winter weather makes scaling the banks difficult that I most appreciate the stark geometric beauty of these bridges. 

I find something compelling about the coalescing strength and fragility of stiff steel girders atop solid concrete abutments being transformed over time by water and weather. It reminds me that nothing lasts forever and that what appears to be solid in this world is in fact always changing.

 I like the reminder. It helps me take none of the good stuff for granted and to remember when things are challenging "this too shall pass".

 I could spend hours in spring watching when a river free of icey restrictions adapts to the obstacles a bridge presents with beautiful dancing currents as the waters continue along their way beyond the abutments.

It teaches me obstacles are sometimes opportunity.

I marvel at how the black, shiny paint morphs to orange/red/brown and gold shades and hues of nearly iridescent flakes as what appears to be a stable structure moves toward slow disintegration. The subtle changes over time that result in complete transformations can sometimes go unnoticed, but, in this case, the evidence of the process is visible and impressive. I find this to be yet another helpful reminder.

Change happens so I might as well enjoy the process. 
It can be wonderful.

And through all of the changes, the rusting away, the crash of debris and sediment and the corrosive flow of currents, many of the bridges still stand strong and beautiful. They still connect one side to the other, and some carry the weight of passing trains or people or bikes. 

There are many opportunities to explore and enjoy the bridges of  Pennsylvania and there is much to be learned about their historical significance.

Here are a few links to get you started:

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