Under the Bridge

Excerpts from my Journal: Part 3.

I love the belly of the bridge as much as the top. From the time we painted in the parking lot at Connolly Pacific to now, it reminds me of Brueghel’s Tower of Babel. There are staircases that climb up the sides of the bridge pillars, made of metal tubing and flat sheets to stand on. You can’t be afraid of heights on this job! People are tiny dolls in relation to the size of the bridge, and they are building it right up into the sky, as high as they can.

One section of the underbelly looks like a forest of rust-red pipes with vines of wire strung out from the top on one pipe to the bottom of another.

Iron workers construct a frame in metal.

They have to build three bridges in order to build one. First, the iron workers construct a frame in metal. Second, the carpenters build a wooden form around the frame. This is placed on the huge scaffolding supporting the road—which juts off the pillars into the air. Finally, the cement is poured, and when it sets the wooden frame is pried off.

The completed section is a company of marching soldiers, grey and tall, two by two. Sometimes the way the light hits the pillars, shining between the old bridge and the new, it creates zebra stripes along the side of the bridge.

When you are on the top of the bridge, you soar. When you are under the bridge, you feel its power.

The tallest pillars start out as octagons and end as a diamond: four sides stay the same and four sides taper into nothing. It is tricky to draw. You have to understand how things are built in order to draw them correctly, otherwise they become a tangle of lines and shapes.

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