Moments of Clarity, Part I — Back to the Irish Bridge

Nothing like a campfire to untangle your thoughts.

Fire is a tool here. A child learns how to build and control a fire by about the age of 7. It is an important but mundane facet of daily life, very much as it would have been for ancestral humans and their immediate predecessor species, going back almost a million years, when fire was an omnipresent tool, of sorts. But I’m (escaping) from a “modern society” where fire is used more as a decoration than a tool. I should have outgrown playing with fire a long time ago, but I can’t keep from gazing into those burning, bright red embers. It was on the second evening I spent on my site, the cold wind blowing from behind, up my spine and down my bum crack (because my one and only sweater is too small), that I was rewarded with bursts of flames after each gust of wind, and a few moments of clarity.

Irish Bridge at Whitely Woods, Yorkshire.

The importance of this bridge is growing in leaps and bounds. In fact, it should no longer be called a bridge. Billy agrees that we could easily raise the water level upstream of it by 40cm or so. So, it’s going to be more of a water feature than a bridge, and closer to a dam in terms of function. I still want it to look something like the stream crossing shown here. Generally, there will always be water flowing over it. The neighbors have confirmed that they don’t mind driving their motorbikes through about 10cm of water.

Step 4. Add river gravel, and voila!

The way I’m going to go about building this crossing is pretty much the same as before. I’ll use woven polypropylene bags containing river gravel on the two sides, although I think one row on each side is sufficient, lay down concrete pipes, enough to take on the entire flow in the dry season, and fill the area in between with dirt and more river gravel. It’s just going to be higher than I originally intended, but there is a reason for this. Okay, so it hardly justifies the “Moments of Clarity” title, because, after all, I’m just going to raise the water level higher than I had planned and keep it running over the crossing throughout the year. But keep reading.


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