06 August 2013

Natural Bridge: The "Bridge of God" Or The Bridge Of The Political Class?

Native Virginian and Jurist, John Marshall called the Shenandoah Valley's Natural Bridge, "God's greatest miracle in stone."

Lexington Gazette publisher, John N. Snider, wrote the following about Natural Bridge which appeared in the Gazette 11 September 1819:
Beneath the noble arch men wondering stand;
Twas fashioned here, by an Almighty hand,
An Architect Divine, whose voice can call
Worlds into being-or, decree their fall.

If I had never known Jehovah's law,
This scene had taught me reverential awe;
Inspired my soul its feeble powers to raise,
Admiring nature--nature's God to praise.

Atheist! contemplate this grand scene, one hour,
And thou shalt own there is a God of power.
Another writer, Samuel Kercheval, who wrote The History of the Valley of Virginia, in 1833 penned the following verse about Natural Bridge:
Oh! thou eternal architect Divine,
All beautiful thy works do shine!
Permit me thus to sing:
Who can this towering arch explore,
And not thy sovereign power adore.
Eternal King?

Awed, at first sight, my blood was chill'd,
My trembling limbs and nerves all thrill'd
Beneath this splendid pile.
My mind, howe'er, was soon on flame
To adore the great builder's name,
Viewing the heavenly smile.

Whate'er the motive or the plan,
It far exceeds the art of man:
The grandeur of the scheme
Shows that the builder lives on high,
Beyond that blue eternal sky,
And wields a hand supreme.
And my own wife's ancestors, the Monacan Indians, also believe the bridge has Divine origins:
The Monacan Indians handed down through generations the history of how their tribe was wasted and decimated by long wars with the Shawnees and Powhatans. Worn by famine and despair they were flying, closely pursued, through strange forests when they came upon a great chasm of incredible depth, a hundred feet from brink to brink, extending for miles to the eastward and the westward. In the anguish of defeat they prostrated themselves, and called on the Great Spirit to spare his children. And when they arose and looked, behold a bridge spanned the abyss! . . . Therefore the Monacan called it the "Bridge of God" and worshiped it."
The arrogance of the political class often rises to the absurd and ridiculous. Such is the case with a recent resolution "controversy" (contrived) involving members of the Lexington, Virginia City Council - yes, the same governing body who didn't want the Museum of the Confederacy to locate in Lexington because it was "controversial and divisive."

The latest display of arrogance and stupidity arose from a simple proclamation. As the Lexington Gazette reported last week:

Do these people have to politicize everything in American life? Are every one of our traditions targets for this mindset? This is the same type of petty bickering that wants to remove "God" from the pledge of Allegiance. For hundreds, even thousands, of years this Virginia treasure has been associated with the Divine - from Native Americans to our own time, Natural Bridge has inspired all who have been blessed to gaze upon her majesty.

Yet these two Councilwomen consider themselves so much wiser, so erudite, that they felt compelled to secularize something so innocuous as a simple proclamation about the beauty and awe of a natural wonder. How petty and small-minded can you get?


Betsy said...

My husband and I took our grandson to see the area 3 years ago. So these two councilwomen get the last word? Where are the voices of objection on this?

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Hi Betsy. The only mention I've seen of this is what I posted here. I think they slipped it under the radar. I seem to be the lone voice.

I don't know why the rest of the decision makers paid any attention to them. I would have ignored them. They come off as extremely petty.

Arlee Bird said...

I don't know how many times I've passed the exit for this landmark as I've driven I-81. I always think to myself that one day I'll have to visit. I intended to do so this past summer when I was visiting the area, but once again my schedule precluded my taking the time to stop to see Natural Bridge. It's still on my must-see list.

Those council women are real disappointments to their city.

Tossing It Out

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Hi Lee. It's definitely worth your time to stop in and spend the day. Be sure and stay for the evening Creation/light show on the bridge. I've not been for several years, but the last time I went, NB had not yet been infected with the PC virus. It's a really neat place.