The Asphalt as Canvas

To keep the sun off my nose, grime from a passing cattle truck out of my eyes, or my hat from blowing off, I will walk with my head bowed. I began to notice brush strokes on the asphalt in front of me. After a number of days this feeling began to entertain me. Credit for these works of Art should be provided to a Nebraska highway maintenance worker yet to be identified.

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5 thoughts on “The Asphalt as Canvas

  1. Bjørg Brauteset

    Hi Steve!
    I’m still following your steps across the continent and enjoy your almost lyric accounts of life on the road. Your impressions from the south-western reservations brought back some memories that made a great impression on me many years ago – good ones.:) And now your accounts from the endless plains – I have driven through them, and have felt their endlessness. Still, it is the accounts given by Norwegian immigrants from the mid- and late 1800s that come alive to me again now. Coming from a country of mountains and fjords, with ever-changing weather, many were driven to madness by the endless plains where there was nothing “to rest your mind and soul”. There was no place the eyes could rest upon, and give peace and break the monotony. You know there is something else waiting you in the distance.
    All the best,
    Bjørg

    7millionsteps posted: “To keep the sun off my nose, grime from a passing cattle truck out of my eyes, or my hat from blowing off, I will walk with my head bowed. I began to notice brush strokes on the asphalt in front of me. After a number of days this feeling began to entertai”

    Reply
    1. 7millionsteps Post author

      Yes, The immigrants paid a hefty price with this country’s continental expansion, as did members of the First Nation. I can’t imagine the adjustments that had to be made. It is a new world phenomena to see our lives lived on the grid of carbon transportation. Rail and road came to the plains wilderness with straight lines and community development spaced rather equally apart for the needs of 19th century train engines and their thirst for water. I have walked past the remnants of so many of these hamlets. More are passing on than thriving, or even subsisting. Would Norway still have been under Danish rule during this migration? I ask because so many locals in the republican Valley spoke of Danish Ancestory.
      Good to hear from you! Keep reading!

      Reply
    2. Joan Hoffman

      Steve, there are various reasons for bowing one’s head including the ones you mention; knowing you makes me think there may be a good deal of introspection and mindful prayer going on, too. I cannot imagine the physical pain that your walking inflicts; neither can I imagine the beauty of the landscape you are traversing nor the joy of communicating – even if momentarily – with those who have crossed paths with you. The ‘art’ on the asphalt…I hope it is either hieroglyphics or left there by highway construction – NOT hallucinations from the heat! Miss you in the Whitmer Hosbach SS Class. We call you by name in our prayers and conversation. Truthfully, we have concern about your traveling alone. It’s at those moments that I recall the very young man who traveled in the mid-east, stopping in a kibbutz to earn enough to continue the journey and realize that you will, without a doubt, take these yet to be walked 3.5M+++ steps through NYC and will arrive in DC at the appointed time.

      Joan Hoffman

      Reply

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