It was 90+ outside, so it seemed reasonable to take a walk on the hot sidewalks and streets at 3 in the afternoon, especially since I was still dressed in black. Since I’ve been experimenting with various incarnations of chalk, today I carried a stick of very light lime green on this walk. In the event of heat stroke, I could at least scrawl out a last message as I melted on the sidewalk: “I’m a dumbass” would probably cover it. It’s not poetry, but it’s accurate, much in the same way that Luke Bryan is singing, but it wouldn’t necessarily fall into the category of ‘music.’
I went inside to get an unsweetened tea to drink on my way back. I knelt with my back against the sun and wrote “TODAY” on the sidewalk in front of the store. The very light lime green brilliantly contrasted with the shadow created by my profile against the blistering sun. I noted that the pale green seemed to morph into blue against the shadow.
“Hey, what’cha doing?” a voice asked as I stood up. A 20-something man was the source of the voice. He was, of course, smoking. But definitely not smoking hot or smoldering with a hidden intelligence. Walgreens is the Walmart of the pharmacy world.
“Making art,” I said, keeping my face impassive and stoic.
“It looks like you’re writing with chalk to me,” he said.
“Art is the convergence of the mundane with the sublime, dude.” I laughed. I waited for him to retort in reply, as I’m nothing if not courteous.
I walked away as I put my chalk back into my front pocket, possibly in an attempt to entice people to coyishly inquire if I was happy to see them or if I had a stick of chalk in my pocket. Being curious-minded, I did ponder how many adults in Springdale had chalk in their pocket at that exact moment.
Because of the success of the color of chalk, I wrote a poem, one and two words at a time, stretching for over a mile. Above me, the sun did its best to erase my enthusiasm for the task. It amused me to know that it would be challenging to read the poem back in the order I wrote it.
And though the thing I described as art is transitory and fleeting, I suspect I’ll remember the moment. I hope the smoking young man remembers it too, trying to figure out if he had witnessed something ridiculous or sublime. It’s all in the eye of the beholder; art, love, stolen moments in the hot sun.
If you’re reading this, I’m talking to you.
I hope your today had a chalky moment too.
For every divine moment that can be experienced…