I walk my dog down the same sidewalk every day. A lot of my neighbors do. I’ve strolled down the same stretch of sidewalk since I was a child. I have never given the path trodden by countless feet a second thought.
I was staring ahead, blankly at the dirty scar that ran through the pristine white of the snow that had fallen a few days before, When something caught my eye. A bright little glint of something grabbed my attention and made me notice it.
Was it a coin? A lost gold ring?
No…it was a piece of glass embedded into the concrete that was under my feet. Barely visible through the mud, snow and ice, the piece of glass caught a stray sunbeam as it poked through the overhead clouds. I leaned down to look at it. It was round, a very dark green and I could see a date stamped into the bottom of it. !8** something it read. Weather, time and concrete had worn away the remaining numbers of the date. But there it was. Frozen in stone and time.
My thoughts wander to how many other feet have walked the same path. How old is the sidewalk? I mean pieces of it are very old. There are the obvious new sections. Press formed red concrete that vaguely resembled the original brick walk that the Park Service had lain in the 1940’s; butt against the cracked and weathered sidewalks that remain. What memories they hold. There is a long standing theory amongst paranormalists that certain minerals hold onto things, like a video tape or a dvd. Quartz is one of those minerals. The hills and mountains that Harpers Ferry sits on are composed of dense pockets of quartz. The sidewalk too has small bits of it. The old concrete would have been mixed with the local stone, and quartz would most certainly have been ground into it. So imagine walking on a blank tape…a blank tape that grabs a piece of memory with every step. Now imagine playing that tape back…
What wonderful stories it would show!
I ran a finger over the piece of glass. I could feel the cold of the earth radiating through it. The small bumps on the bottom of the glass felt like goosebumps under my finger. I could see now it was the rounded edge of an old bottle. What it held, I could only guess, I have no knowledge of what was kept in what. But a bottle in and of itself has a story to tell too, I am sure.
I sighed as my dog pulled on the leash and roused me from my musings. Her insistence at maintaining her forward motion beat my philosophical internal dialogue and I was pulled by her tiny straining frame down the walk. I just watched the concrete pass underfoot like so many memories.
Each crack in the sidewalk was like a punctuation mark to the end of someone else’s sentence.