Whenever I see something written in chalk on a sidewalk I like to stop and check it out. If it is a hopscotch layout I may take a few jumps. If it is something vulgar I may try and wipe it out with my feet. I like when I see something clever written that will make me chuckle to myself or to the person with whom I am walking-if I am walking with someone.
One time my wife wrote in chalk on the street if front of our house a big birthday wish for my daughter. When my daughter walked home from the bus stop that day she saw a gigantic “Happy 8th Birthday!” written in different colored chalk. We have a picture of my daughter that I love with her and a big smile on her face in standing next to the birthday wish in the street.
I was recently walking in town happened to see the word “Hope” written in chalk on the sidewalk. I just so happened to be wearing a sweatshirt that my brother gave me for my birthday from the Hope General Store in Hope, Maine. I thought that was a coincidence and chuckled to myself. I also looked up to see if my friend Hope might be driving by in her truck. That would have made a perfect trifecta of Hopes if she was waving out her window while I was walking over “Hope” on the sidewalk and wearing my Hope General Store sweatshirt.
I wonder who wrote Hope on the sidewalk and what they were thinking when they wrote it. Were they feeling good that day and writing it as one might write a smiley face? Or were they feeling a little low and wrote in hopes of changing their luck. I like to think it was the former because as I was walking past the word I heard the song of a robin red breast. I always think that is a hopeful song as it is usually heard when winter is coming to an end and the spring flowers are picking their heads up off their pillows after a long winter nap.
As I continued my walk through town on that recent morning I thought about some of the things that gave me hope. The first thing that gave me hope was looking to the east and seeing it brighten as the dawn gave way to morning. The feeling of hope in a new day can be powerful.
I also felt hope about warmer weather. After a recent dusting of snow the near term forecast promised temperatures in the high 50s and sunshine. A sunny day is always helpful in the hope category.
Walking a few miles and getting the blood pumping exercises my hope muscles. We know that physical activity helps our mental strength. I think we might need to do some research to see if physical activity also helps our hopeful strength. I’m not sure how to measure hopeful strength but I know that if someone was able to figure out how to measure my hopeful strength that morning, it would have been trending up.
I didn’t see any other words written on the sidewalk or street during the rest of my walk even as I was looking. Seeing the word written on the sidewalk that morning gave me some positive energy to start my day. That same energy carried through the rest of the day. I hope to see some more words written in chalk on the sidewalk soon-I know I will be looking.