Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Word Up Wednesday: Trestle

I can't believe I haven't done a Word Up on trestle before, because it's one of my most favorite words. It's beautiful with that "st" sound in there, but it also sounds so sure of itself. As in, I'm a large bridge structure, and I carry some weight. And it'd be right.

Trestles commonly refer to railroad bridges, although dictionaries will have you believe that trestles are merely rigid frames of support (which they are), but not necessarily railroad bridges. For years I believed that trestles were railroad bridges over water, but I was gently (and firmly) corrected by a worker at the Nevada County Railroad Museum that trestles cover land, not water. Never water! I don't think you'll be struck dead if you call a bridge over water a trestle, though. In fact, I think you'll be fine if you call any railroad bridge over a depression in the earth a trestle. After all, you can't help whether dry land floods and suddenly a river runs under a trestle, can you? No.

Trestles are quite beautiful, often stretching high into the sky and constructed of what looks like a bunch of sticks. Hard to believe a heavy thing like a train could go over it. When you think of trestles, you might think (as I do) of that great scene in Stand By Me where they have to cross the trestle and outrun the train. Nowhere to go but down on that trestle. A wee tussle with a trestle, as it were.

You needn't dismiss the word trestle as unlikely to find your way into fiction. It's ripe for a metaphor. Can you think of any?


Mia said...


Although I liked the word before hand, but you sold me more.

I always associate it with old world "Pardon me madam" society because it reminds me of bustle, as in pillow thing women once wore. So whenever I hear "Trestle" I think of this scene with a man stumbling into a lady wearing this wonderful dress (the lady) and saying "Oh, do pardon me madam I was captivated by yonder trestle"

So, um, there's my weird and crazy thinking for you. Please don't be scared... Also, I hope to please you by saying you were the first post I read from my over flowing dashboard :~)

Sierra Godfrey said...

You have pleased me beyond measure, Mia, and also I love the way you connect trestle to bustle, because I do too -- and you're right, it definitely makes it sound old fashioned. But quaint.

KLM said...

I have always known the word trestle because when I was a kid -- like 8,9 -- I had this good friend whose older brothers were useless stoner beer drinkers, and they used to always talk about meeting "up at the trestle" to hang out. For a long time, I thought that's what a trestle was. A place to get wasted. (You can see I come from a high class sort of world.)

Congrats on going triple digits on the followers! Altho I see one of your followers is a cat, so that really shouldn't count.

Amber Tidd Murphy said...

Trestle reminds me of wrestle. In fact, I wouldn't mind admitting that I have, in fact, wrestled under a trestle.

Amber Tidd Murphy said...

Could I have said "in fact" MORE?!

(Pregnant brain.)

Sierra Godfrey said...

I think trestle still probably means a place to get wasted, Kristen.

Also, the cat counts.

Travener said...

"The trestle of her love gave him the support he needed to cross the chasm of fear that loomed before him."

You said you wanted a metaphor, not necessarily a good one.

Julie Dao said...

It's pronounced "tres-stal" and not "tressal"? It is a pretty word either way and I didn't know it before! Love your Word Up Wednesdays. I hope you do "quagmire" or "meander" one day ... those are two of my favorite words :)

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