Time in Concrete

My thirty-year class reunion was supposed to be in October. It doesn’t seem like it was thirty years ago that I graduated from High School. Yet the calendar dates confirm the fact that my body doesn’t seem to believe it is true. The good thing is that I don’t feel thirty years older.

I recall one day after school when I was driving home, I saw a woman in a Volkswagon beetle stuck in freshly poured concrete that she had driven her car into. The construction workers weren’t happy; they were cursing and yelling, but still aware that they needed to get the woman out of the mess she had made for them. As I drove by, I only recall the look of dejection she had over her face as she gripped the steering wheel, and the men cursed at her.

I continued driving that day either to work or home, not really sure after all these years but that image comes to mind whenever I see names scrawled into the sidewalk. I started to take pictures of names scrawled into the sidewalk as I walked around the neighborhood this week, and I thought to myself, what are the stories that these scratches have to tell?

One day I looked down, and I saw the inscription Rachel. I love you, D.B. 83. Thirty-Seven years ago, a man or woman scratched into wet cement that they loved Rachel. 37 years ago, this was an act of defiance or mischief. A crew had spent the day laying cement on a sidewalk, and someone had come along and defaced that work they had done, and now 37 years later, it remained.

I couldn’t help but wonder what happened to D.B.? What happened to Rachel? Did they still live in the neighborhood? Could I knock on doors and find them? Who was around on that day to tell me what had occurred?

I began to look for sidewalk engravings and saw several more, Anita scratched her name in 1997, Steve, Dr. Doolittle in 1983, and then I just saw one that said 1955. 65 years ago, someone had scratched 1955 into the concrete. Dwight Eisenhower was President of The United States. The Los Angeles Dodgers were still two years away from moving to L.A.

Time passes, but the scratches in the sidewalk remain. If you are a creative person struggling to hit publish, think about this. Your art is your story, meant for the world to appreciate. It will be here long after you are gone, and it is a way for you to leave a piece of your legacy behind, your way of inspiring the world long after you are gone. Make your art, write your books, record your music, speak into your microphones, and now is your time.


One thought on “Time in Concrete

  1. Steven, welcome back for September. Good to read your writing again and I loved this reflective piece about time. I’m like you, I find myself wondering what the story behind things are and it is much more enjoyable thing to do on a walk rather than stare at my phone! Perhaps these scratchings might spark your story creation for the next book.
    I particularly love how you encourage us all to put our work out into the world, and it makes me smile thinking that in the digital equivalent of 65 years, someone might stumble across a blog or podcast episode of mine from 2020 and wonder what inspired me to write or say a certain thing.

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