Skip to content

Bridge to Nowhere

A prompt to encourage your practice of creativity this week from Riversider and local author Larry Burns.

Do you need a low stress way to include seven minutes of creative contemplation into your week? Consider this your helpful nudge towards a slightly more creative life. If it helps, come back every week for a quick hit of creative contemplation. Each week I’ll share a new nudge. It will include a Thing (T), a Place (P), and a Sense(S) for your focus, a TPS creative nudge.

In our last creative exploration, we explored the heart of our homes, the kitchen, for some clean contemplation using the kitchen sponge. Did you discover the artistry of applying paint texturized by a sponge? Maybe you cultivated a more playful side of yourself designing a simple sponge toss game? Even if you just looked out a window while you scrubbed the dinner dishes, those minutes of creative thinking collected across a week make a meaningful difference in the quality of our lives. 

Connections between the past and the future are on my mind a lot this month. How is 2024 shaping up in terms of expectations set in 2023? How can I let go of some connections while maintaining others? How do I save a few minutes each day for creative activities without feeling self indulgent? I’m always in need of new metaphors to investigate these questions.

This week's creative nudge uses a symbol of connection and transition found all around this transportation hub for consumer goods we call home: bridges. From the grandeur of Victoria Bridge, to the simplicity of a fallen limb over a creek in Sycamore Canyon Wilderness Park, bridges are more than just architectural feats; they are metaphors for what we try to bring together. 

Let's use bridges as our muse to inspire creative activities and reflections, exploring the connections they symbolize in our lives and surroundings with one or more of these creative exercises:

  1. Model Behaviors: Using found materials such as sticks, trash, or recycled items, construct a tiny bridge; explore the principles of balance, support, and aesthetics. 
  2. Plein Air Artistry: Set up a session of plein air painting or sketching. Capture the bridge in your unique style, focusing on its structure, the landscape, and the interplay of light and shadow. This is even more fun to do with a group in a park.
  3. Mural Observation: Many bridges provide shelter to stunning murals. Find one and spend time observing it. What story does it tell? How does the bridge enhance or influence the mural's narrative? Discover the stories embedded in public spaces.
  4. Bridge as a Metaphor: Reflect on a bridge that has significance in your life. It could be a real bridge you cross regularly or a metaphorical one that represents a personal transition or connection. Write a short story, poem, or journal entry about this bridge. Explore the emotions and memories it evokes and the symbolism it holds in your journey.

As we engage with these activities, let's appreciate the bridges in our lives, both seen and unseen. They are reminders that creativity, much like life, is about building connections, understanding transitions, and finding beauty in the journey. 

Bridges remind us of the power of connection – between places, people, and experiences. They encourage us to look beyond the physical and explore the deeper links that bind us. As you ponder over bridges this week, may you find inspiration in their ability to span distances and bring worlds together, just as creativity bridges the gap between our imagination and everyone else’s reality.

Note: This column written with the help of ChatGPT Plus and related Plugins.