The gap between here and there

I did stop and look at the artwork like I promised myself the other day, and it was a treat. It seems the hospital staff created all or much of the painting and photography on display in the long corridor between the hospital itself and the Cancer Center.

This photo, taken by the hospital’s RN coordinator, caught my eye because the Mackinac Bridge is one of my favorite places in the world. Completed near the beginning of my lifetime, the 5-mile-long Mighty Mac links Upper Michigan and Lower Michigan and is an engineering marvel decades in the making.

My father’s father was part of the team that designed and built the Panama Canal, and so I have always been fascinated by structures that close the gap between here and there. It’s said the ferries across the Straits of Mackinac were so busy that the waiting line of vehicles could stretch to 16 miles or more. That agonizingly long wait became a 10-minute drive in 1957, and all of a sudden St. Ignace and Mackinaw City were not so far apart after all.

When I drive from our home near the shores of Green Bay to visit friends and family in New Jersey, I usually drive two hours longer than I have to, because I choose to go over the Mackinac Bridge, rather than drive the more direct route through Milwaukee and Chicago. Yes, I hate driving through those congested metropolitan areas, but it’s more because I love the 10-minute journey driving higher and higher until 1,000-foot-long cargo freighters look like toys floating on the water below Mighty Mac. It’s the closest you can get to flying while still attached to the ground with four tires.

It’s a thing of beauty and power and hope — hope because it shows what inspired humans can do when they set their minds to it — and while trudging along a corridor to visit a loved one who is staying in the Center for Advanced Care, hope is a wonderful thing to have.

Whoever came up with the idea to line that corridor with art has my undying gratitude.

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