Most of my twilight moments occur between 3 & 5 a.m. After a night of not being able to fall asleep until well after midnight and not waking up until 7 a.m., my thoughts focused on the “tools” that many Petalumans have used over the years to help build our favorite “River Town.” – those of a “bridge builder.”
For many years, I used to carry a poem titled, “The Bridge Builder” in my wallet because I thought it represented the spirit of those volunteer activities and projects that motivated and inspired me the most. Last Saturday, I rediscovered that same poem at the memorial service for Herb Louden at the Petaluma Valley Baptist Church. It also reminded me the poem’s message may be applied to many of Petaluma’s fprmer residents who have made significant contributions to our historic community since its beginning. That list would be too long to print here, but as you reasd the poem, below, I’m certain that many names will pop into your mind. Lest we forget!
The Bridge Builder by Will Allen Dromgoole was possibly published in 1900 in the book, The Builder.
An old man, going a lone highway, Came at the evening, cold and gray, To a chasm, vast, and deep, and wide. Through which was flowing a sullen tide. The old man crossed in the twilight dim; The sullen stream had no fear for him; But he turned, when safe on the other side, And built a bridge to span the tide. Old man,” said a fellow pilgrim, near, “You are wasting strength with building here; Your journey will end with the ending day; You never again will pass this way; You’ve crossed this chasm, deep and wide, Why build you this bridge at the evening tide? The builder lifted his old gray head; “Good friend, in the path I have come,” he said, “There followeth after me today, A youth, A youth, whose feet must pass this way. This chasm, that has been naught to me, To that fair-haired youth may a pitfall be. He, too, must cross in the twilight dim; Good friend, I am building this bridge for him.”