Written by: Debra Kurtz
Date: June 8, 2015
Sidewalk chalk intrigues me; the people who draw with sidewalk chalk intrigue me more.
Last week at the local park, I saw a family, a mother and seven children, drawing pictures on the paved trail around the park. There were endless possibilities as some were drawing small, personal pictures and some were drawing random shapes with large sweeping strokes. Even the mother was engaged in the art. I appreciated that each was focused on their own picture.
Later I rode my tricycle back to the park to get a ‘read’ on this family and take a closer look at the pictures. To my dismay, the rain had mostly washed the glimpses of their lives away, leaving only blurry sketches, barely identifiable as individual pictures; rather, all the pictures had blended into a soft family of color. I pedaled home and rested on the porch swing, falling into a philosophical trance.
Do you remember the scene in the Mary Poppins movie when Bert, played by Dick VanDyke, has drawn chalk drawings on the sidewalk? He and Mary Poppins and the children jump into one of the drawings and find themselves in a fantasy countryside with cartoon characters and a carousel of horses. As they are riding, the horses detach from the carousel and send them all on a wild fox chase. They suddenly find themselves, in the next scene, back on the sidewalk, watching the chalk drawing wash away by the rain. Later, Mary Poppins’ aloof reaction to a comment causes the children to question whether the events inside the chalk drawing ever actually happened.
Isn’t life like that? How many of us have lived in and through our chalk drawings? There have been many pictures along life’s path, some drawn by us and some drawn by other people. It may have been a picture drawn with painful clarity; it may have been a drawing of a single line that was dared to cross, or not; it may have been a drawing for which we prayed for the rain to come quickly and wash it all away.
These scenes of chalk allow us to live in the moment and then move on and put the past behind us. Maybe it is a complication of childhood, or a compromising teenage experience, or a failed marriage onto which we hold. Maybe it is
a pleasant experience that we’ve tried to recapture. The pieces and parts of the past are going to invade the present and the future no matter how much the picture has blurred, but in this 3rd 3rd of life, it is time to wash away the old chalk drawings; it is time to live in the new chalk drawings on our path.