I will admit that I have strayed a bit from my “Seize the Day” series of excursions taken in June, but I wanted to share the news of my 10th anniversary of walking and my 60th anniversary of beginning school (gulp); there will be a post to pause and remember the 20th anniversary of 9/11 and then there is Grandparents Day … whew! I’ll resume that series on September 13th. At the rate I am going, I’ll be doing June events through the Fall.
From sad … to mad … to glad.
On August 23rd I had a range of emotions in the span of about a half-hour. Every day that I walk, I try to exit the house with my mind a blank slate – there is way too much clutter in my brain, so I like to give it a rest while I walk and just absorb nature’s sights and sounds, many which end up percolating into a post.
There are a couple of backstories to this cheery chalk art.
On the morning of August 23rd, I was not going straight to the Park as I had to drop my car off. And, speaking of anniversaries, my car will be eleven years old this week and it only has 8,760 miles on it. But, just like its owner, it is sometimes a little quirky – especially lately. For example, the driver’s side window started going down on its own and I was worried it would disappear one day and not roll back up. The air conditioner quit working in June, despite having a charge in August 2020. But the most worrisome idiosyncrasy of late is the door locks. They either don’t open at all on the passenger side, or unlock and/or lock themselves on their own volition on the driver’s side, without any rhyme or reason. Sigh.
Before leaving the house, as has been my practice of late, I set out peanuts and an ice pop on the porch for Two-Tone and her youngsters. Though I’ve not seen Two-Tone in about a month, two solid-black young squirrels, believed to her kin, have beaten a path across the street just as soon as I opened the front door. One of the two squirrels was a little more eager to run across than the other. But both scoped out the door from their nest in the tree across the street. Just two days before, one of them spotted me, then dashed halfway across the street, saw a car, double-backed and went up the utility pole. It was a cringe-worthy sight and a close call. I was sure I could see it shaking like a leaf from my vantage point. I shook my head and wondered aloud “is it time to stop feeding them, or maybe just look for them on the opposite side of the street when I go out before there is an accident?”
Sadly, I was prophetic, because on August 23rd that indeed happened. I no sooner got everything on the porch and one black squirrel scrambled through the front garden and up onto the porch. I scolded it for being careless and said “I have to take the car out – stay here or cross over now, so Linda doesn’t roll over you and please watch for the cars – you almost got killed the other day!”
I shut the door, grabbed the keys and came around the house to open the garage and gasped. I couldn’t miss the black body lying in the street. My eyes misted up and I was sad, not to mention sorry … sorry I started feeding them on the porch, sorry I saw the aftermath of my good deeds.
Then I was mad … mad at the drivers who race up/down the street in a 25 mph zone. One day it will be a child. In the Summer of 1997, I pulled a child out of harm’s way when I was out doing yardwork and saw her ride her tricycle down a driveway into the street and path of an oncoming large truck that was barreling down from Fort Street. I caught her in the nick of time and pulled her by the arm to safety. She was oblivious to what nearly happened; I was upset, but relieved and the truck driver just kept going.
As bad as I felt about this little squirrel, I couldn’t dwell on my furry friend’s demise as I had an 8:00 a.m. appointment and I aimed to walk afterward at the Park and get there ASAP. I had to share the tale, with fellow peanut-dispensing walkers, that the day before two juvenile hawks, working together, were chasing and attempting to nab squirrels, so we all needed to be careful to place peanuts near bushes where the squirrels could take cover easily. That of course, doesn’t mean the squirrels won’t run off to the middle of the Park to bury the peanuts.
I dropped off the car and began to walk home to pick up the bag of peanuts I left hanging on the cellarway railing. Then I indulged myself in a little cry and played the blame game – was it my fault versus the driver’s fault or my furry friend’s fault, who, in its zeal to get peanuts, raced across the street meeting its fate. Obviously no one said to look both ways as was drilled into my brain as soon as I was allowed to walk to school on my own – my mom was hit by a car at age 11 and spent the next four years in the hospital and had 41 orthopedic operations in her lifetime, the result of one careless moment.
So, my heart was heavy and I was still misted up, as I came upon this chalk art.
There is a backstory here as well. Just the day before, I was walking to the Park and a man was sitting on the porch of this home. He had a huge dog, that was panting heavily, sitting next to him. “Morning” I called out and he responded in kind. I stopped and said “you know, I love dogs, but I’m scared of your two dogs, especially this one. I walk by your house most days if I don’t drive and your two dogs see me and lunge at the window, barking ferociously. The big one actually makes the window jiggle. I’ve taken to walking on the other side of the street unless your drapes are closed. But then I would miss the great chalk art which I photograph and use in my blog.” He smiled and said “I will tell her you like the chalk art and she loves doing it.” He added that the dog was a Rottweiler/Shepherd mix and big and yes … scary. We chitchatted about the weather and the neighborhood and before I left I said “perhaps your dog saw us talking and smiling and knows I’m no threat now.” He smiled and told me to have a great day and I went on my way.
Flash forward 24 hours.
I was walking down Pagel Avenue with a heavy heart plus thinking about all the expenses to be incurred with the car, when I came upon the City sidewalk and leading to the front door of this same house. They were filled with colorful chalk art and inspirational messages. I have to assume my compliments were given to the young girl and this is the result … at least I’d like to think that. The chalk art improved my mood immeasurably and I took these photos to memorialize the artwork. The living room drapes were open, so I gave a “thumbs up” to the window since no one was outside. Hopefully the family members, not just the pooches, saw my gesture. I was glad I walked this way, mentioned the artwork – it all kind of came together in a positive way.
Thank you sweetie for your cheer and wise words … they meant a lot to me. And, as for these words “Keep moving forward” in this chalk art …
… the entire quote is below.
“If you can’t fly, then run; if you can’t run, then walk; if you can’t walk, then crawl; but whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward.” ~~Martin Luther King, Jr.