A Bridge Between Reality and a Dream

One of my earliest memories is of my Grandpa reading me the story of Three Billy Goats Gruff. They needed to cross a river to get to the green grass on the other side. Of course, the mean troll played a small part in the story, but what about the bridge? If there hadn’t been a bridge, there would have been no story. And, those poor little goats would have gone hungry.

Photo by Robin Tinay Sallie. The Tappan Zee Bridge, officially named the Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge, is a twin cable-stayed bridge spanning the Hudson River between Tarrytown and Nyack in the U.S. state of New York. It was built to replace the original Tappan Zee Bridge, which was located just to the south.

A bridge is a structure built to span a physical obstacle (such as a body of water, valley, road, or rail) without blocking the way underneath. I always asked Pap what kind of bridge did the goats cross? Was it a beam, arch, truss, or suspension bridge? 

A beam bridge is the weakest of all bridges and might not be strong enough to hold three goats. A truss bridge is the strongest. A suspension bridge is the most expensive to build. An arch bridge can hold the most weight.

I have always had a thing for bridges. The word bridge means so much. The bridge itself, can be actual or abstract. Bridges are a way to overcome obstacles. Bridges represent transitions.

Photo by Robin Tinay Sallie

To cross a bridge, a river or a border is to leave behind the familiar, personal and comfortable and enter the unknown, a different and strange world where, faced with another reality, we may well find ourselves bereft of home and identity. —Jean-Pierre Vernant