“Sidewalks are like people: they have a story to tell about their past and current situation. If you ignore them, you will miss out on the story. If you pay attention to them, you can learn something new.” -Michael J. Fite
Keep this in mind whenever you take a look at any sidewalk that you are on.
I decided to walk outside of my door and take a few pictures of the sidewalks outside of my door.
You may look at my sidewalks and see some things there that stand out, but nothing special about them. The reality is that there is much more to know about the sidewalks than what meets the eye. There are stories on these sidewalks that nobody bothers to ask or know. The same is true about your sidewalks as well.
Today, we will look at the following:
- What is a sidewalk?
- Where does a sidewalk get its story?
- Why do people miss out on the sidewalk’s story?
- What story does your sidewalk has to tell you?
My mission is for you to get your know your sidewalk a little better than you did before. With that being said, let’s get into answering the questions!
What is a sidewalk?
I know most of us know what is a sidewalk, but I still must go ahead and define it. Merriam-Webster defines a sidewalk as:
- A usually concrete path along the side of a street for people to walk on.
A sidewalk simply creates a safe way for people to be off of the streets.
Where does a sidewalk gets its story?
A sidewalk can get its story from many places. Here are a few of those sources:
- The builders of the sidewalk. How much care they put into lay into pouring, setting, and smoothing out the concrete can determine how beautiful the sidewalk can look initially.
- The location. Where the sidewalk is can affect how it is treated by the community, the people, and even animals.
- The houses and buildings. Houses and buildings attached to sidewalks add a different element and brings certain people to use certain sidewalks.
- Pedestrians. The people who use the sidewalk can leave behind footprints, tire marks, trash, or even writings with markers and chalk.
- The homeless. The homeless who have to sleep or panhandle on the sidewalk shares their story with the sidewalk.
- The weather. Rain, snow, and sun all can have an effect on how the sidewalk will look over time or when it needs to be either repaired or replaced.
The sidewalk’s story can be very extensive and have many authors and contributors.
Why do people miss out on the sidewalk’s story?
Sidewalks in particular have a lot to share with us, but the problem is that the sidewalk cannot verbally communicate. It cannot verbally tell us how it feels or what it thinks. It sits there and takes everything that life throws at it without every complaining. If this sounds like your life, then you and the sidewalk have more in common than what you think.
What story does your sidewalk has to tell you?
Believe it or not, your sidewalk does have a story to tell just like you do. The only difference is that it cannot speak like you do. If it could speak to you, here are some of the stories that your sidewalk would tell you:
- How and why did it get there? Your sidewalk would share the story of how and why did it get on your street in the first place.
- Who all used it? Your sidewalk would keep you occupied for life sharing with you all of the people who have walked, ran, slept, crashed, urinated, and a host of other things on it.
- How did age and weather affected it? Your sidewalk would share with you memories of how it was in its youth and tell you how time and the elements have given it the age and appearance that it has now.
- How did it get so dirty or so clean? Your sidewalk would share with you the stories of how people, animals, vehicles, and buildings either help it look clean or dirty.
The stories that you and your sidewalk can tell have one thing in common: They have a past and a present for us to learn from.
I encourage you to outside, look, and take a walk on your sidewalk. Just take in the sight that is on your sidewalk and try to learn from it. It may be a long slab of concrete, but with every marking, person, and thing that is on that sidewalk, there lies a story for you to learn from. Let’s remember that a sidewalk may look plain on the surface, but if you take the time to understand it, it has a past and present to help us appreciate its true value.
I have a few questions that I would love for you to give some thought. Feel free to answer and comment below.
- What memorable moment did you have or witnessed on a sidewalk that you were on?
- What can you recall that was on the sidewalk at the time?
- What story did that sidewalk share with you about that moment in particular?
Your answers and comments can help yourself or someone else to take the time today and explore the main question…
- What story does your sidewalk has to tell you?
-Michael J. Fite