Breadcrumb #463


The Sidewalk is impossibly narrow, walkable only by one, or two in single file, or me and a dog on a long leash, and the sort of cat that follows freely for a while just to irritate that leashed dog.

But, it’s suburbia and no one was ever supposed to walk on it really - everyone driving or being driven - the concrete ribbon meant only to lift to just the right height the wheels of lawn-mowers dutifully driven on late Saturday mornings, or to stabilize the Monday through Friday afternoon wheels of the tricycle driving toddlers (honestly, no one could wait to drive) watching for the big kids to get off the bus.

It was rolled out in the early Sixties, after all, when walking was reserved for hallways and aisles and the people who sadly, hopelessly careened through their driven lives in big cities. And even there, when late in the decade the marches came, the marchers took to the streets and highways, leaving the sidewalks to white men standing behind badges, and lenses, and the times.

As I walk the concrete ribbon now I think of it as an artifact of a world long gone, a memorial to the men who cut its course, set it forms, and poured a new world into being - this suburbia. Each embedded pebble a drop of sweat, a buck earned and penny saved in the hope of a lawn-mower of their own and a child on a tricycle.

The roots of trees have raised the sidewalk’s edge. Torn the ribbon jagged - it trips me into paying attention to the blade gouged lawns, the children in the street pedaling, dodging cars driving to and from the city, and the fractured fragments of the impossibly wide suburban dream once so neatly tied up with concrete ribbons.

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