The Fine Art of Bridge Building

You and a group of friends are living on the edge of a canyon. You live well enough, eating the pineapples that grow in abundance on this side of the chasm. However, as the days pass, you find yourself drawn more and more to the other side, where you can clearly see not only the same, delicious pineapples, but also apples, pears and oranges (microclimates, amirite?). For a few days, you walk along the edge of a canyon, looking for a way across. After much fruitless searching for a way around, you finally decide that, fuck it, you’ll build your own bridge to get across. As you start to tie vines together and gather bits of wood, one of your comrades happens upon you.

What are you doing? they ask.

Building a bridge to get across this canyon.

What for?

There are apples and pears and oranges over there. I tried those a few years back and they were pretty great. Let’s go get them. Grab a hammer.

But I don’t even know if I like apples, pears and oranges. What if I hate them? I’m pretty down with these pineapples we’ve been eating, honestly. And it seems like a lot of work to get to those other fruits.

Fine, get out of here. But you’ll see. You’ll be begging me for those fruits once I get all the way across.

And so you build on alone. Even as a few others come by to inquire about what you’re doing: if they aren’t bought into the fruit you’re chasing, you cut them out of your venture. No one understands you or what you’re trying to achieve. No one believes in the vision! Idiots.

However, it turns out that while you’re really good at weaving vines into rope, you’re pretty terrible at identifying wood that’s strong enough to support your weight. You’re also pretty stumped about how to attach your bridge to the other side of the canyon, even if you were able to finally make it long enough to reach.

Finally, after a few enraging weeks, that first person from your group walks by again.

Hey, forget the fruit, you say. It’s still really important to me, and I get that you’re unsure. But you’re the best woodworker we have. I could really use your help making this bridge and even if the fruit on the other side isn’t as good, we’re at least somewhere new and can maybe find something we’ll all enjoy.

Sure, they say after a few moments of consideration. I’ve been watching you all week and you’re getting your wood from the completely wrong part of the forest. I’ll be right back. Also, we may want to get a few people who know about rock climbing so when this is long enough they can hike it up the other side. I think I can ask around and find some folks if you want.

And, thus, a bridge is built.

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