On The Bridge

IMG_8727Over a quarter of my commute to work is the San Mateo Bridge, the longest crossing in the San Francisco Bay Area and the 25th longest in the world.

It’s long. It looks like it goes on forever. On the causeway heading west one can see the span of the bridge in the distance, barely moving closer. The same goes for the eastern hills on the way back (not to mention the span in the rear-view).

I used to get freaked out crossing the bridge. There’s so much water. Sure, it may only be five feet deep (maybe even less at low tide) but it just goes on forever. The expanse of flatness surrounding the bridge is so great, in fact, that on a brilliant clear day, one can see San Francisco and the Bay Bridge, partially obscured by the curvature of the earth. When it’s foggy… well, that’s really freaky. Nothing to see but choppy grey water for a drive of at least seven minutes.  When it’s foggy and raining?  I had one of those days recently.  You emerge on the other side like a soldier returning from battle.

IMG_8701On a beautiful clear day though, the 360 degree view is nearly impossible to beat. From the top of the span and most of the causeway, one can see San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose, Mount Diablo and Mount Tamilpaias as well as the hangars at Moffett Field, and a constant stream of planes flying into SFO and OAK.  The wide blues of the sky and the water, combined with the glistening white metal light posts and power lines are a delightful sight.  It’s just so much better than the ugly brown hills covered in ancient rusting machinery of my last commute.  It’s a lovely thing to experience after every work day.

I couldn’t care less about traffic. Hell, the longer I spend on the bridge, the more I get to appreciate the view and the peace. It’s odd being surrounded by a region of several million people, more than three miles away in every direction. It’s peaceful and beautiful.

Heading into work a few days ago it was cloudy, thick and low over the bay.  The clouds stopped before the east end of the water, allowing the rising sun to illuminate them from beneath, and causing the water to glisten brightly behind while still hiding behind the floating layer of water vapor.  I’d never seen anything like it.  And really, there likely aren’t many places on the planet where such an experience is possible.  I hope to treasure crossing this landmark every day for years to come, at least as long as I live on the other side.  If the day comes when I tire of it, I guess I’ll just have to move west yet again.

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