Bridge of the Gods III

#675/3: Tolls || Connection requires payment...

Bridge of the Gods III
Image by David Greaves


Connection requires payment. The Bridge of the Gods isn't free, despite its modesty. Spanning a gap involves a balance of tension and compression, revenue and liability. Bridges aren't suspended, we are. Before the Mackinac Bridge was completed in 1957, a ferry traversed the straits. Innovation easily overshadows nostalgia. The $3 toll is collected at an unassuming booth on the south side of the Bridge of the Gods, by a single employee working the traffic both coming and going. I prefer the side where you pay before, rather than after. The brief stop serves as a momentary opportunity to savor the anticipation before slowly accelerating over the river-carved and dam-consumed chasm. Weightless. Like a taking of a breath, albeit with others waiting. The toll feels like an offering best paid upfront. Insurance. If there were a ferry, I would probably still use it, at least on occasion, if only for the nostalgia and immediacy. On the north side are hills of lush green, on the south, charred trunks still show, remnants from the 2017 great fire. Give and take. Holding the dollar bills, I wait for the hand to finish sliding open the window. Five men died building the Mackinac Bridge; 20 for the Brooklyn, 11 for the Golden Gate. The attendant takes the cash with disinterest, as if I were interrupting something more important, some reverence being paid to forces I cannot see that also occupy the booth, water, mountains, [licking their chops in anticipation?], worshiping the Great Spirit on whose topography we ignore we're overstepping. You will pay. Progress, like human relationship, isn't cheap.

Peter Nicholson

Peter Nicholson

Peter is a writer, multidisciplinary creative, and entrepreneur who founded Circa 250; Foresight Design Initiative, a sustainability-focused innovation consultancy; and Yoga Horizons, a yoga studio.

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