poetry and prose about place

in the shelter of the covered bridge – a puzzle

with 2 comments

Most covered bridges in new Brunswick have some unique feature that makes them memorable, distinct from all other covered bridges. Sometimes this is because of a puzzle. Why, for example, are ropes and chains hung from the rafters of a covered bridge?


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Digdeguash #4, McCann Covered Bridge in New Brunswick. 2015


At the end of August, we travelled to some of the covered bridges in Charlotte County. One of these was Digdeguash River #4, the McCann Covered Bridge near Rollingdam. The bridge was built in 1938. On the day we visited, the water was very low, so we could see the ‘bones’ of the Digdeguash River. The bridge walls and beams were covered with names of people, done in knife and pencil and pen, felt marker and paint. The air was thick with the whirr of cicadas.


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In the rafters of the bridge thick ropes, now frayed, had been hung from the cross beams. There was also a chain hung from one rafter and a piece of steel cable from another. We discussed possible reasons for these, but didn’t have a chance to talk to any local people who may have known the true reason.


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This is my list of possibilities (some more sad, ridiculous or unlikely than others):


  1. a rope swing inside the bridge after midnight
  2. a suicide pact
  3. a hanging
  4. ghosts and ghouls strung from rafters at Halloween
  5. a challenge – a timed climb of a knotted rope
  6. a hammock slung, a cool snooze to the trill of cicadas
  7. a banner draped by a graduating class
  8. a way to right a truck’s load after striking the top of the bridge


What do you think might be the reason for the ropes and cable and chains?


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Copyright 2015  Jane Tims  

Written by jane tims

September 21, 2015 at 8:13 am

2 Responses

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  1. I was thinking reason #8, but I like the banner idea too. I hope you find out!

    Liked by 1 person


    September 21, 2015 at 10:48 pm

    • It is true that logging trucks (and other trucks) going through the bridges sometimes exceed the height restrictions and get ‘stuck’ … Our own local covered bridge was damaged in this way a few years ago and now has a metal height bar before you enter the bridge. Jane


      jane tims

      September 22, 2015 at 8:28 am

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