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Where The Sidewalk Ends

Today is a jumbly day.  A day where, no matter how hard I keep trying to bring myself back into focus, I am drifting off to somewhere else.  A thousand somewhere elses.


When I sat down at my desk this morning, there was mail to go through.  Bills asking for attention.  Client files, articles to be read, emails to be emailed.  The usual suspects. I am a very efficient person.  Normally I would love to just click on down the list and accomplish and be productive.  But the more I tried to complete, the further off I drifted. 

Finally, the act of bringing myself back to my desk for the thousandth time made me feel like I was going to scream.  So, I stepped away and took some moments to ground myself.  Deep breaths in and out.  Closing my eyes, relaxing my shoulders.  And this was good, while it lasted.

Distractions And Lists

Even in this calmish space, though, my brain began to dart here and there.  Maybe I should get on a ferry today and sail out into the San Juans.  Maybe I should just take my lunch to the park and sit in the wind. Or, today might be the day to take my camera someplace new and look and see and listen.  I don’t want to sit at my desk.  I don’t want to do the things that need doing.

Meanwhile, pragmatic Taya is making lists:  Wednesday means vacuuming.  There is sweeping to be done and cat boxes to be cleaned. Email a request for records.  Set up newsletter content. Practice violin. Return shoes.  The lists await my check marks.  Proofs I was a good little soldier, marching through the day with purpose.

Even in my body, there is an anxious, adamant rejection of responsibilities and tasks today.

The Work Of A Good Book

From my timeout chair, where I have been attempting to meditate, a book catches my eye.  “Where the Sidewalk Ends” by Shel Silverstein.  It’s pretty worse for wear.  The dust jacket is gone and there is crayon on the front cover.  On the inside:  “For: Taya, From: Mom, July 24, 1980″.  The date isn’t ringing any bells.  It wasn’t a holiday or my birthday.  Just some regular day.  Maybe like this day.

As I flip through the pages, I find an enormous dog-ear marking page 64.  There is a check mark in pencil that looks more like a V than a check. The poem is “Where The Sidewalk Ends”. This is a check mark that is getting my attention.

I don’t even know why I’m crying as I finish reading it.  Except that somehow it has been delivered into that jumbly, restless space I’ve been contending with all morning.  I imagine little girl me, overwhelmed and confused by the wide world, sitting in my clubhouse which was my dark closet filled with all my stuffed animals.  A flashlight.  A pencil.  Reading through the words and feeling somehow reassured.  If there’s a place where the moon-bird rests from his flight in a cooling peppermint wind, there must be a place for me too.

Clarity And Balance

And now things become clear to me.  Today I am where the sidewalk ends.  “For the children, they mark, and the children, they know the place where the sidewalk ends.” 

This is a tricky place for grown-ups who are accustomed to sitting still and paying bills. Looking out windows at the wind in the trees.  The clouds in their magical formations sailing by.  We become so tame in our responsible lives.  My soul is restless to play today.

And so today will also be a day for patience and kindness.  As I seek to find the balance between the grown-up tasks and responsibilities I mostly enjoy, and my deep and wild creature need to be in the wind among the larger, fresher spaces.  After all, there is a place where the sidewalk ends and before the street begins.  And today I mean to find it.

Where The Sidewalk Ends, by Shel Silverstein.

There is a place where the sidewalk ends
And before the street begins,
And there the grass grows soft and white,
And there the sun burns crimson bright,
And there the moon-bird rests from his flight
To cool in the peppermint wind.

Let us leave this place where the smoke blows black
And the dark street winds and bends.
Past the pits where the asphalt flowers grow
We shall walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And watch where the chalk-white arrows go
To the place where the sidewalk ends.

Yes we’ll walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And we’ll go where the chalk_white arrows go,
For the children, they mark, and the children, they know
The place where the sidewalk ends.

If you are feeling efficient or restless today, if you need a lot of patience and kindness, join me where the sidewalk ends, and let’s be friends there~

1 thought on “Where The Sidewalk Ends”

  1. I come to your blog sometimes when I need distraction from the noise of my season (it sometimes feels like a sentence I serve).
    This resonates with me. Shel Silverstein. A firmiliar book from my childhood. One I still also have. I picked it up the other day and laughed and how some today could even find his poem offensive lol. But when I try to think back to a time where things made sense, maybe where rhe sidewalk ends was it.
    My name written in cursive in pencil. Still the originals that traveled my many adult moves and countless relationships. Even raising a child who will soon be 21. Maybe my season… my sentence… is just a sidewalk? I sure hope so.

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