Celebrating the day of small things.

Updated: May 30, 2021

I love borderlands, especially the domestic; the everyday. The chat on the doorstep, not in the house not out. I love doorways, flights of steps, and bridges. All those simple little places where we have almost left one place and are almost in the next. Superstition would have us believe that we are vulnerable to evil in liminal places. I would suggest we are open to moving into something new, which can be exciting, but may pose a challenge or two, or, we risk turning round and staying put. I would prefer to see the liminal place as a place of challenge; will we climb those steps to see the view from the top?

This bridge is at Warkworth, it spans the river Coquet and is one of only two medieval bridges left in use in England. It was built providing a direct link between Newcastle and Lindisfarne. In 1378 John Cook left 20 marks towards the building of the bidge on condition that it was built with in two years. Five hundred and some years later the bridge is still here. It was closed to vehicular traffic in 1960s but it is still open to foot passage. In the background to this painting you can see Warkworth Castle that has a long and fascinating history, that is for another day, maybe another painting.

Right now I want to linger on that bridge. It has been walked over by so many people, rich poor, holy men and secular, even kings and Bishops will have crossed from one bank of the Coquet to the other over this bridge. I has existed in Northumberland and Scotland from time to time and been owned by the King, Lords of Northumberland and the Brothers of Lindisfarne. A place of the in-between. Sitting in the borderland between England and Scotland in a small place that once held great significance. A bridge that spans flowing water and time. We connect to all that when we walk on it, if we choose to. We can touch the history of it. We can read the history of it, but we have to engage our imaginations if we are to feel its five hundred year of history.

This little bridge is not a grand Norman Cathedral, only a few people might recognise it, but it is just as important. It signifies a journey of faith of many people, and it was built to make the journey from a Holy place out into the world more accessible, and maybe sometimes the journey from the world back to a sacred place, which in my mind is just as important. Looking at this little pack horse bridge thinking of the great and small who have travelled over it, its long service of five hundred years, I think of the great gift John Cook left to the Community, and the warning 'Never despise the day of small things' comes to mind.

Whatever it is we are leaving, however small the step to the new is, do not treat it as insignificant. One little bridge has stood over a river for centuries, how can we know where our small step may lead us, indeed may lead others.

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