Wednesday, March 17, 2010

My Dented Sidewalk

(Pre-Script: This post will smack you like a faceplant on the sidewalk when read as the song, "32 Flavors, #21 on the playlist, plays in the background. Go down to the playlist, click on that song, then come back and resume reading. I'll wait...) (...still waiting...)
When I was a median aged child, I used to ride my bike around the block, over and over, while singing made up songs and imagining an imaginary life with imaginary friends. The best places on the ride were the small hills and valleys that would occur where the sidewalk had been pushed around by the underground roots of nearby trees. The roots continued to grow, under ground and under all that sidewalk, thereby inadvertantly creating bike jumps I would have otherwise not had, while the nearby tree provided shade and coolness.
The Grown Ups did not appreciate this. Many grown ups would look from their lawns at the sidewalk and say preposterous things like, "That tree needs to be pulled out, it is ruining the sidewalk." As a kid, I wanted to protest; every cell in my body was jumping out and exclaiming, "RUINING the sidewalk? NO, the tree and it's growing roots are actually IMPROVING the sidewalk!" but I kept quietly whizzing around and around in circles, hoping that this Grown Up Talk (or G.U.T.) was another one of those things that grown ups say they are going to do, but never actually do. If I could just hold them off for one more day, and another, and another. Grown ups often recognize things they would like to change, say they are going to do something about it, then don't do it. What they do instead is just what they did the day before, and every day before, completely forgetting the "need to do" things, then, at the end of the day, walking on their lawns or looking out the window at the tree on the sidewalk and saying, again, "Oh that tree is ruining the sidewalk, we need to get that pulled" but by then they are too tired to do anything more for the day.
How many grown ups have you ever actually seen riding around the block on a bike? How many take the time to enjoy the shade of a tree that has the absurdity to allow it's roots to continue to grow, develop, and push up the sidewalk, even while confined to a dark, air tight space just below the surface? None of the people deciding on the fate of the trees and my tree root bike jumps were people who actually spent any of their lives on them. Whereas I spent countless hours riding over, mentally acknowledging and appreciating and relating to a thing that would grow and shape the world around it even under all that cement.
Yet I had no voice in the matter.
I have come to realise that for my entire life, there will always be people who don't appreciate my various cracks and dents for what they are; who stand on the sidelines focused on the surface of the thing, but never consider what may be going on underneath, what might be growing, even, except to try to cut it out. There will be those who take the shade and shadow spots for granted, only focusing on if the surface looks smooth or not. And also, there will always be people who don't appreciate the value of a large tree. But this is my life, and what looks like a mucky mess to someone else might just maybe be the most thrilling parts of my daily journey.
If there were no cracks in the sidewalk, it might just mean that everything underneath had stopped growing and reaching and pushing and expanding...
(...but I prefer to live on a tree lined street...)


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