Here’s what I’ve been leading up to: I spend a lot of time looking down.
For the past few wonderfully warm months, it’s been at sidewalks and I’ve been mostly noticing this.
It hasn’t exactly been three years in coming. The first year was the struggle year. I fought to get out there. I fought to keep moving, keep challenging. Eventually, I noticed. Flowers, trees, blue skies, an occasional name scrawled in cement, a lot of cracks, uneven and uninteresting surfaces.
The second year, I pushed some more; booked longer jaunts, explored new neighborhoods, occasionally stopping to take pictures; fascinated by flowers, trees, blue skies, shadows, fences, a lot of cracks and uneven and now interesting surfaces. Sun glare left me snapping a lot of blind cellphone shots. Always, later, enjoying both the fun and frustration of reviewing the results, because even if what I meant to capture wasn’t the subject, sometimes something cooler came out of it.
As autumn came around, I searched for card-worthy photo-opportunities hoping to find the one sunset-hued tree-lined street or that one huge majestic oak. Looking down lead to great discoveries; a perfect leaf brilliant against grey dappled paths, an impressive impression pressed into wet cement likely by a hard-driving rain, piles piled up on lawns or swept into the street, hugging curbs in groups of brown haphazardly flecked with near-hidden yellows and oranges, reds and variegated prematurely released greens.
This year, traveling the same paths, everyday has taken over. Embossed concrete company names and dates, chalk art, paint art, cat feet, dog feet, bird feet, squirrel and chipmunk and raccoon prints, and shoe stamps. There were way more people-were-here foot statements than previously noted. I was surprised by how many. Really.
Attributed to inconsiderate via abuse, patterned imprints in repeat and array, made me wonder.
Could there really be that many destructively intent sidewalk users? So many egotistically minded semi-eternal foot-printers? So many post-Kilroy era jokers laughingly adding “I Was Here” footnotes?
A slight step-back from the shadow I cast and a minute of reexamination made me think again. Maybe that’s not it at all.
Maybe there are kinder, equally plausible explanations for this side-walked trample.
Runners, confident, in the zone, might move eight full steps into the wet before they realized it. (Slightly jealous of this notion.)
Walkers, missing clues might misjudge liquidity levels. (Perhaps, if I wasn’t wearing my glasses…)
Bus stop standers waiting for buses or trying to sprint-step step-around navigate. (Glad, my commute hasn’t come to that, yet…)
Whatever the reason, whoever you are, accidentally or on-purpose, you’ve given me pause for thought, photographic memories, and left an impression now sparked with creativity.
It’s been an interesting, observational summer. Looking forward to walking an equally inspiring fall.
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