I’m not one of those writers who go goofy over metaphors and symbols—ladling them out in big generous portions that smother everything else in a story—but they do have their place and, often in mystery fiction, they point the reader is calculated directions.
I’m traveling and when I finally caught up with the time zone, I took a long walk through Nijmegen. It’s a city in the Netherlands that I’ve visited many times. In addition to it being a dynamic place that grows and changes every time I return, my natural habit of getting LOST wherever I go, enables me to stumble on places I’ve heard about, creating unplanned adventures.
When the fog that hovers over all maps faded long enough for my directionally confused brain to register that I was approaching the nature reserve/beaches along the river where wild horses run and locals swim, I headed over a tall footbridge and descended into the wilds.
In fiction, bridges link magical lands and, even as they bring things and peoples together, they serve as a pause, as a metaphorical or symbolic punctuation mark reflecting on the differences between the two sides of the bridge.
Although I didn’t see the horses, I was impressed by the natural beauty and serenity of the place: wild grasses, butterflies, barges passing by in the river, a few bathers and people having picnics on the sand. I plopped down under a tree and enjoyed the shade and the quiet. Metaphorical, symbolic or otherwise—the bridge brought me to another place.