Claiming thirty-one covered bridges to its credit, Parke County, Indiana proclaims itself the Covered Bridge Capital of the World. Each year the town residents of Parke County celebrate an elaborate ten-day bridge festival. People from miles around make the pilgrimage to the largest towns in the county, as well as all the other little villages in between. A whole day can be spent browsing through antiques and crafts or sampling Hoosier delicacies like breaded tenderloin or Amish apple butter.
Of course, the main draw is to discover the beautiful bridges themselves. Most of them date from the late 1800’s and are scattered throughout the countryside tucked away on hilly, winding roads. I cannot imagine a lovelier way to spend an October day than to meander through southwest Indiana’s forests and fields on the hunt for a bridge sighting. In mid-October God has such an opportunity to show off His creation. At this time of year the woods display the first brush strokes of autumn in splashes of scarlet and yellow while the golden fields of corn stand waiting to be harvested. It is truly breathtaking.
The first bridge we saw on this particular autumn day was down a gravel road. By the date painted across the front we could see it had been in existence since 1914. It also included words we saw repeated on almost every bridge we viewed – CROSS THIS BRIDGE AT A WALK.
What good advice that is not only for the aging bridges, but for my life as well! Sometimes it seems as if I barrel through my days at breakneck speed under the guise that the more I get done the better off I will be. What a delusion that is! Rushing from task to task only blurs my vision and depletes my spirit. Exhaustion sets in and suddenly I am worn and weary.
When I forget to savor the beauty of the present moment, I miss out on the peace and joy that God offers me even in the ordinary. Because truly, the ordinary can only become the extraordinary when I take the time to cross each juncture in life at a walk. Sometimes I hear God whispering to me to slow down and walk and other times I have to read it in bold letters across an antiquated bridge top. Whichever way it is, I am thankful. Thank-you, Lord for the reminders to cross each bridge at a walk. Help me not to run up ahead of You, but continue to walk at a steady pace close behind.