When Sidewalks Talk by Ginger Keller Gannaway
Even while we isolate and avoid close contact, some people send messages in nontraditional ways. Whether it’s scratched on wet cement or drawn with colored chalk, people express themselves.
During my neighborhood walks, I started noticing the sidewalks. First, I saw the writing in the scratched initials or names that said, “I was here.”
Sometimes the message was angry.
I loved one section of a child’s footprints. Was this accidental or intentional? I imagined a mischievous kid being told by a harried mother, “Get up in your car seat.” The three-year-old makes a wild dash down the wet cement while his mom deals with her fussy eight-month-old. The kid gets in a two yard run before, “I said ‘Get in!’” pulls him back to the car.
During the spring of the pandemic, chalk artists shared their whimsical renditions of Disney characters, and they did not mind that a short rain would wash it all away.
Now more than ever we need to look for life’s artistic touches in unexpected places. It’s proof of the creativity and goodness among us. Sidewalk messages feel like hope to me. They communicate feelings and ideas even during a pandemic. I search for these symbols etched in concrete. I feel connected to others, even if I never see who sent the message.