In a recent phone conversation with my remaining contact from art school, with my latest printouts in hand, he said all this work was fine and good. “But what does it mean?” And my response is, “I don’t know.”
So I started doing some homework. First, everybody loves the Brooklyn Bridge – it is iconic where NYC bridges are concerned. While she was getting a face lift, the Williamsburg Bridge began to come into vogue as NYCs celebrated bridge, but nobody loves the workhorse: the Manhattan bridge. I looked up the history of the Manhattan Bridge and found that it had quite the checkered past. At one point in its history, due to the design and heavy train traffic, the fate of the bridge was in peril. I sure do love an underdog.
Second, I investigated the symbolism surrounding bridges:
From literature: leaving behind the familiar; especially leaving a rural life for the industrialized city. A device to represent a journey: from heaven to earth; life to death; new social/cultural identity. Bridges in the lives of characters can create dramatic tension. Represents doors, boundaries, the turning point of one day or year to the next – by being dangerous, enchanted, pregnant with a double-edged potential; place between times
From psychology: distance; a way to span a difficult time or situation; linking past to present; linking the conscious to the unconscious; the passage of one stage of life to another; healing of the split between intellect and feeling; connection; cooperation; harmony; progress.
In dreams: transitions, critical juncture in one’s life; male sexual organ (sometimes a bridge is just a bridge, really!); birth; crossing from one consciousness to another; being able to see things in more than one way or thinking in multiple ways; being sensate in more ways than one; bridging.
In mythology/religion: man’s triumph over nature; connections to the heavens; crossing a bridge is a test or challenge of worthiness, a test of the soul; bridge to paradise; the link between earth and heaven and likely guarded by a spirit who determines weather one is suitable to cross.
In the occult: connections; directions; assistance; stability; crossing; progress; spanning the gap (from the Long Island Railroad: “Mind the gap!” overcoming obstacles or conflict; opportunities to overcome obstacles; divine intervention to rise above difficulties; opportunities; solutions; perspectives; different ways of viewing life; divine connection between harmony and misery.
In physical therapy/yoga: the bridge is a powerful exercise for restoring function: transitional movements in bed, standing up, walking, climbing stairs.