The Bridge


Yesterday, I had a video call with a friend in the USA; the same friend who, in 2020, would zoom me daily for a shake session while I was in Melbourne caring for G through his treatment. These days, we frequently end our calls with tarot or oracle readings.

In 2010, two weeks before leaving my then-husband, I had my cards read. Not a coincidence. I keep the scrap of paper that I wrote out from that reading, with the cards and their layout, in a small crate of keepsakes. Perhaps I will revisit that spread this year, now that my understanding of the cards has deepened.

In 2012, I went to a circus-themed costume party as a fortune-teller and conducted card readings for any party guests brave enough to sit opposite me at the table. I began all my readings in the same way; the cards cannot tell you anything you do not already know. Just as I had already known in 2010. Two weeks later, the couple who hosted the housewarming party broke up. And he moved out. Not because of my reading, however, as it turned out, the reading had exposed and brought to light some inconsistencies within the relationship and he was not prepared to continue.

Despite these outcomes, tarot is not a tool for predicting the future. And it did not do so in either of these cases. Instead, it is a means of finding deeper insight and self-awareness. The cards provide prompts to examine specific areas of our lives, patterns of behaviour, or parts of ourselves we keep in the shadows. Sometimes for good reason. The deck my friend used for my reading was The Wild Unknown Archetypes Deck and I drew two cards; The Bridge and The Mask. The Mask was about flipping the usual script; instead of a mask hiding our true nature, what if particular masks reveal more authentic parts of ourselves? But the main card was The Bridge. In summary, The Bridge relates to connection and it came with a short exercise to “go deeper”.

Lie on the floor, it said, and listen to Bridge Over Troubled Water. So we did. I rolled my teal velvet chair back from the desk and pushed it into the gap between the bookshelf and the filing cabinet. Then, I crouched down beside my desk, squeezed myself into the gap between my bookshelf and the desk, and stretched out on the floor. She hit play and the tinny sound of the song blaring through her iPhone was beamed from her lounge room in California to my office in Victoria through my laptop speakers.

I grew up listening to Simon and Garfunkel. Between the two of them, Dire Straits, and Beethoven, there was rarely anything else on my father’s record player. Or on the tape in the car. So it wasn’t so much that I grew up listening to them by choice as it was I had no say over what played on the radio. I was familiar with Bridge Over Troubled Water. But it has been years since I really listened to the lyrics.

The goals and intentions section under the category of social relationships in my planner is blank. I could speculate at length about what it means but I won’t. Whether it’s the pandemic or age, my tolerance for people, people around me, and especially people near me has diminished over the last few years. Previously the social co-ordinator among my friends, I now just want to stay at home. I want a slower pace of life. I want to move more slowly. I want to take my time. I want ease and flow and peace and stillness. I am going inwards. Growing inwards. Growing more aware of my own desires, my own wants, my own needs. And I am not willing to give them up. This is a deliberate choice I am making. It may be time to set out my goals and intentions for my relationships, my friendships, my everythings. I want to be as intentional about the social connections I build in my life as much as I am about my health, my career, my creativity and my finances.

My eldest stepdaughter turns 25 later this year. In my keepsake crate, I also have a journal from when I was 25. In it, I write that I am having a quarter-life crisis. My first question about that now is, when did I decide I was living until I was 100? My second question is what made me think I was running out of time?

The journal contains a list of things I wanted to achieve. Some of which I have. Many of which I haven’t. And while I’d love to believe that I still have plenty of time, the last few years have shown me that life can change in an instant. It seems, right now, that I may have plenty of time. But life does not offer us these guarantees. I may be–no, am–running out of time. And I have realised, despite this, there is no reason to rush.

Sail on Silver Girl
Sail on by
Your time has come to shine
All your dreams are on their way

Simon & Garfunkel

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