Sarajevo Bridge of Mostar

by Branka Kurz

“To je bilo jednog vecera kad se vracao iz planine, i, umoran, seo pored kamenite ograde na mostu. Bili su vreli letnji dani, ali prohladne noci. Kad se naslonio ledima na kamen, oseti da je još topal od letnje žege. Covek je bio znojan, a sa reke je dolazio hladan vetar; prijatan i cudan je bio dodir toplog klesanog kamena. Odmah se sporazumješe.”
Ivo Andric

“It was an evening when he returned from the mountains, and tired, sat down beside the stone wall on the bridge. Those were hot summer days but cold nights. When he leaned back on a stone, he felt it was still warm from the summer heat. Man, he was sweaty, and from the river was coming a cold wind; friendly and wonderful was the touch of hot carved stone. They agreed immediately. ”
Ivo Andric

Of all the things a man in life instinct raises and builds, there is nothing better and valuable than bridges. They are more important than houses, more sacred than temples. Everyone and treat all alike, useful, raised always deliberately, in place to entwine the largest number of human needs, more durable than other buildings and no serve to anything that is secretly or evil.

Large stone bridges, witnesses of bygone times when we used to live, thought and built differently, gray or damaged from wind and rain, often ragged to sharply cutted corners, and in their joints and seamless cracks, thin grass growing or bird nests. Thin iron bridges, stretched from one bank to another as wires, shivering and sounds from every train when whiz; they still seems like waiting for their last form and perfection, and the beauty of their lines will discover completely in eyes of our grandchildren. Wooden bridges at the entrance to a small village whose beams plays and rattling under the hooves of rural horses, like stripes of xylophone. And, finally, very small bridges in the mountains, in fact, a sizeable tree or two nailed to each other, transferred over a mountain stream that would be impassable without them. Twice a year, mountain torrents takes away, when foam, these logs, and peasants blindly, and persistent as the ants, intersecting, trimming and placing new. That is why with these mountain streams, in meanders between rocks, are often visible that former bridges; lie and rot, like all other woods washed up there by accident, but these logs doomed to fire and decay, standing apart from all. Standing apart from all the things a man in life instinct raises, and recalls even now on the purpose they served.

They are all essentially one and equally worth of our attention, because they show the place where a man ran into an obstacle and did not stop before it, but overcame the bridge how could he, in his opinion, tastes, and circumstances that is surrounded by.

When I think of bridges, in my memory arise, not the ones I have been passing the most, but the ones who retained most and conceived my attention and my spirit.

First of all, bridges of Sarajevo. On Miljacka, which backbone is the spine of Sarajevo, they are like stone ribs. I can see them clearly and count them by row. I know their bows, remember their fences. Among them the one that carries fateful name of a young man, small, but steady, involved in itself as a good and silent fortress who knows no surrender or treason. Then, bridges that I saw on my travels, by night, from trains, thin and white like an apparition. Stone bridges in Spain overgrown in shrubbery and thought over their own image in the dark water. Wooden bridges in Switzerland covered by roof due to heavy snow, looks like long barns and decorated inside with pictures of saints or miraculous events, like chapels. Bridges in Turkey placed approximately, kept and maintained with destiny. Roman bridges in southern Italy, made of white stone, from which time rejected all that can be rejected, and beside them for hundreds of years leads a new bridge, but they still stand equally, like skeletons on guard.

Thus, everywhere in the world, wherever my thoughts wander, or stand, finds a faithful and silent bridges as the eternal and eternally insatiable human desire to connect, reconcile and merge everything that comes up before our spirit, eyes and legs, not to be sharing, contradiction, or separation.

The same is in the dreams, and an arbitrary game of fantasy. Listening to the bitterest and most beautiful music, I have ever heard, suddenly I pointed stone bridge, cut in half, and broken sides of interrupted arch, painfully toward each other, and with last effort shows one possible form of arch that disappeared. It is faith and sublime incompatibility of beauty, which allows beside itself only one, single option: absence.

Ultimately, everything that our life is showed by – thoughts, efforts, views, smiles, words, sighs – all towards to the other shore, to which manages like aim, and on which gaining their true meaning. All this has something to overcome and bridge: disorder, death or lack of meaning. Because, everything is transition, bridge whose ends are losing in the infinity, and to whose, all other earthly bridges are only children’s toys, fading symbols. And whole our hope is on the other side.



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