Including my deep and strong feelings for my wife, daughter, and the many animals with whom I’ve shared my life as family members, the most powerfully positive animating sensation I've had is the "peace which passeth understanding" blanketing a “covered” Quaker meeting.
New York Yearly Meeting's "Faith & Practice" defines “Covered Meeting” as:
“A meeting for worship or business in which the participants feel the power and inspiration of God so strongly that they are united in silence that is the reward of waiting on the Lord.”
The F & P description, although accurate, fails to convey the phenomenal intensity of a covered meeting. I’ve experienced it only a couple of times and not for years. I cannot recall the surrounding circumstances, but they weren’t tied to any dramatic or landmark events.
Recently I wanted to do some basic research into the subject of covered bridges. I'm sure the more intelligent and engineering-minded would find it ur-obvious, but I was curious to learn why bridge-builders decided to cover some structures. A decent short Wikipedia article with a collection of good photos relates that timber-truss bridges were covered with a roof and surrounded by siding to protect the bridges' wooden structural members from the ruinous effects of rain and sun, which would otherwise limit their lifespan to a maximum of 10 to 15 years. Covered bridges, which are found all over the world (about 1,600 remain in existence today), last much longer. America’s first covered bridge was built in Philadelphia (not far from where I sit right now) in the early 19th century.
I love covered bridges and I wish I felt more covered at the moment. As it is, I feel like a solo inhabitant in an endless plain of fortune with head visible too far above ground, clear sighting for snipers.
1. Holzbrücke, over the river Rhine from Bad Säckingen, Germany, to Stein, Switzerland, first built before 1272, destroyed and re-built many times.
2. Pont de Rohan in Landerneau, France is one of 45 inhabited bridges in Europe.
3. The Cogan House Covered Bridge is a Burr arch truss covered bridge over Larrys Creek in Cogan House Township, Lycoming County, Pennsylvania. It was built in 1877 and is 94 feet 2 inches (28.7 m) long.
4. A covered bridge in West Sumatra, Indonesia (1877-1879).
John Cale: The Endless Plain Of Fortune (Link)