nichepoetryandprose

poetry and prose about place

in the shelter of the covered bridge – passage for horses

with 2 comments


Why are covered bridges covered? The usual explanation says that a covered bridge lasts longer if the wood is protected from the elements. However there are other explanations.

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One of these claims the covering of the bridge made it easier to coax horses to cross the river. The horses, accustomed to entering and leaving a barn, would be less alarmed if a bridge was covered.

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In the early 1900s, when most of the remaining covered bridges in New Brunswick were built, horses were still a common means of conveyance.

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In my travels to study the plants and animals associated with covered bridges, I have come across three instances of the association between covered bridges and horses.

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In June, while visiting the Tantramar River #2 (Wheaton Covered Bridge, built in 1916), we saw a team of horses pulling a sight-seeing group across the Tantramar marshes.

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Wheaton Covered Bridge over the Tantramar River in Westmorland County (photo taken June 2015)

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team of horses drawing a sightseeing wagon near Wheaton Covered Bridge (June 2015)

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A notation in the Nackawic River #5 (Nackawic Siding Covered Bridge, built in 1927) mentions the use of the horse-drawn wagon.

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Nackawic Siding Covered Bridge in York County (photo taken 2012)

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notation in the Nackawic Siding Covered Bridge (photo taken 2012)

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And last weekend, in the covered bridge over the Quisibis River (Quisibis River #2, Pont Lavoie, built in 1951), we found a painting of a horse. Whoever painted the horse resisted the urge to make any other black marks on the bridge walls. Clearly, he or she had a single intent – to depict the horse.

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Pont Lavoie over the Quisibis River in Madawaska County (photo taken July 2015)

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portrait of a horse, in the Quisibis River #2 Covered Bridge (photo taken July 2015)

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When I close my eyes and imagine a covered bridge, I always hear the clatter of horses hooves on the wooden boards …

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Copyright Jane Tims 2015

 

2 Responses

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  1. I love your last line and the sound image it evokes. Thanks for your thoughtful comments on history and your respectful way of sharing what you know. It is always a pleasure to read anything you’ve written.

    Liked by 1 person

    Carol Steel

    July 31, 2015 at 7:40 am

    • Thanks Carol. Your comments are always appreciated. I try to be respectful, thinking people who live near these bridges may read my posts. Having lots of fun visiting these bridges. Jane

      Like

      jane tims

      July 31, 2015 at 7:44 am


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