The Old Bridge

There is an old bridge at the end of Pitt Street in the Old Village of Mount Pleasant, South Carolina. In fact, it is a really old bridge. The remnants of this bridge have somewhat of a history, and different reconstructions of this old bridge have been erected at the same site since before the Revolutionary War. Throughout the years the bridge has connected the end of Sullivan’s Island to the Old Village of Mount Pleasant; that was until 1927 when for some reason or the next they decided to not rebuild the old burnt down bridge. The bridge currently extends half of its original length and has become quite the landmark for tourists to visit on Sunday afternoons. The view from this old bridge is nothing short of spectacular as one can gaze out beyond the marsh-grass to Fort Sumter or simply sit and behold the ocean’s melodious dance with the changing tides setting a rhythm that only nature could provide. The church steeples rising above the peninsula’s historic skyline have given credence to Charleston being dubbed ‘the holy city,’ however this term can take on a whole new meaning when one witnesses the sun setting over the harbor from the old bridge, especially on one of those days when you catch the most amazing mixture of oranges, and pinks, and blues that seem to have been painted on the sky — by who’s hand, it matters not. Sometimes if the moisture in the air spent the day forming just right you can witness a dazzling display of clouds with different hues each as vibrant and as moving as the last. One becomes enchanted by the overwhelming forces of nature that play upon the senses. It is as if nature herself was trying to attain some new degree of pleasure. One does not normally reference a man-made construction like a bridge when trying to express the awesome power of nature. However, back then, they were not trying to capture some truth hidden like the one at Walden Pond – no – they were trying to capture crabs, and lots of them.

Now-a-days grass has been laid down, benches have been installed, and two rows of carefully planted palm trees run down along the expanse of the bridge giving it a quaint charm. But that is not the ole’ bridge they knew and loved. For them the bridge was a place to escape—a place to get away from everyday hassles or whatever was weighing down on them at the moment. The old bridge was a place where they would sit, jump, run, play, swim, fish, crab, flirt, find god, or what have you. It did not matter why they were there – they simply were. There was once a young boy of an insignificant age that found part of himself on that ole’ bridge. He would go down to the bridge with his family carrying nothing but a bucket of raw chicken, a length of rope, and a foldable metallic crab trap that would eventually contain that night’s dinner. The crabs used to congregate against the wall of the east side of the bridge, and he knew it, but more importantly he knew of a better spot – a secret spot – beyond the other side where he would lay his trap. To kill the time that passed as the crabs made their awkward lil’ dance towards the raw chicken he would throw his line in the water hoping a sheephead or a big-ole red fish would bite. His friends would ride their bikes down there and join him in his effort to live life as slowly as possible. More so than anything else, the old bridge was a place where he could relax. When he and his friends weren’t indulging in a placid state of mind they would jump off the tower that was a few meters or so away from the bridge. He and his friends would swim over to the tower and climb its wooden ladder until reaching the first platform. They could only reach the ladder at high tide, and besides they knew it had to be deep enough for them to jump in without hitting the bottom. Anyone who wasn’t wearing shoes when trying to get to the wooden ladder paid for it by getting cut on the oyster beds below that were concealed by the greenish-brown colored Carolina water. On one late afternoon, after considerable heckling from his friends, the young boy found himself on the up-most level of the tower looking down 60 feet below. The young boy of an insignificant age found himself in a moment of extreme self-doubt and fear. But then again, you only live once he thought to himself, and then jumped forth, and before gravity had begun to take its natural course he found himself gazing at the most incredible sunset of his life.

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