Nearly every week day, around noon, Tim steps away from his computer, takes a well deserved break and he and I go for a walk. It's a three mile loop, a pretty little stroll, that goes through neighborhoods, part of downtown Venice Island and along the water. We smile and nod to the people we pass, say hello to the dogs being walked and talk about everything under the sun. We see things new and things familiar, we see charm and beauty and admire the wildlife and the gardens along the way. But one of my favourite things to see, is the sidewalk art. There is more of it than I ever expected.
By way of example, this cute little bug is not chalked onto the sidewalk. It's not painted on either. Someone took the time, before the concrete was fully set to take a stick of some sort and carefully draw this silly little smiling caterpillar. Clearly this was someone with a well developed sense of whimsy and creativity. I love this tiny drawing. Everytime we pass it, I smile.
Yes, I suppose, technically the artist was defacing property. But personally, I think they enhanced it. I have walked nearly every street of this island (I am reluctant to have claimed to have walked on every street. For all I know, I may have missed one) and while I've seen quite a few examples of sidewalk art, none of it is ugly. Not one bit of it is rude or mean spirited. I haven't seen any bits that were intended to be harmful or unkind. I celebrate that.
Of course much sidewalk art is, forgive the pun, rather pedestrian. Doesn't matter to me. I love it all anyway. I refer to the usual scratchings of graduating class years or the not uncommon carving of linked initials. After enough time, nobody knows who the "artist was. Most likely they have moved on and moved away. Very few people still live in the same town they grew up in anymore. So now, these many years later, the significance is lost to the ages. It's all very mysterious. This particular mystery is charming though and I love to read these and wonder about the people represented.
Speaking of mysteries, some sidewalk art has me wondering. I ran across this next one several times before I took the time to puzzle it out. It was the loop in the middle that confused me at first. Peace and Love. That's a very nice message. I find no fault with this at all (other than the thing in the middle. Maybe it's meant to be an ampersand?)
Then there are the accidental bits of sidewalk art. I speak of shoe prints and tire tracks mostly. I suppose it's possible that those could be intentional, but I'm betting that more often it's just someone who doesn't realize that they are stepping in or driving over wet cement. Ooops! Then there is this one. I haven't decided if it's a bicycle tire track or a snake track. You be the judge. Personally, I'm voting for bicycle but that could just be because I cannot find it in my heart to vote for a snake. Nope. Can't do it.
My absolute favourites though are the bits of nature made art. This is how that works. A company is contracted to build a sidewalk. The workers come along and perfectly clear and grade the land. They build proper wood forms and pour the wet concrete in. Then they smooth and smooth the surface with hand tools. Once it's set (though not yet dry) the forms are removed. Then, satisfied with their work, they walk (or drive) away. As soon as they leave, nearby trees laugh at how hard mankind works to alter it's environment. In fact, they laugh so hard that a few leaves fall off, into the wet concrete. And now it's no longer a pristine smooth surface. I love these leaf prints. I think they improve the look of the sidewalk immeasurably. No longer is it just a boring, greyish slab. Now it has some style, some uniqueness, a little flair.
I do not think that I have ever drawn in wet concrete. If I did, I do not recall having done it. It's more likely that I, unknowingly, stepped in wet concrete. Yeah, that is the sort of thing I would do. Just blithely walking along, lost in my head somewhere, totally unaware of my surroundings, treading through wet muck. I can see that. But I kind of wish that I had written something, somewhere, left my mark so to speak. If I did, I hope it was something significant, if only to me at the time. If I didn't, then it's something I need to do.
I guess I need to have a plan. Just in case I come across a bit of wet cement with no witnesses around, I need to already have decided on what I should draw or write to leave behind because I'm not very good at coming up with great ideas on the fly. Tim totally is, but I'm not. I do know that whatever I come up with, it cannot simply be my name because I already found that here. It wasn't me, I swear! But I kind of wish it was. Kilroy may not have been here, but someone named Sam (that wasn't me) absolutely was.
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.