Friday, May 6, 2022

Friday Feature: City Sidewalks, Pretty Sidewalks

 My February foray into a writing word a day left me fascinated with the notion of exploring creativity beyond the writing and music that I already enjoy. I've never been very artistic, but I've always enjoyed decorating and I love reading Ingrid Fetell Lee's Aesthetics of Joy blog that brings concepts like color, design and happiness together. 

So, last week, when I stumbled across this piece about painted crosswalks in Axios, I was immediately drawn in. It reminded me of some of the things Lee talked about in her book, Joyful, and of the role color plays in our lives and our moods.

As I write this, the rain is pouring down outside. It's a gray day with a chill in the air that led me to change immediately into sweats when I came into my warm, dry house after work and errands. On two separate occasions today, I complimented people on a bright pink article of clothing -- one a dress, the other a jacket -- both bright spots in the grayness of the day and the mental exhaustion of the final week of classes. I'd opted for a soft sweater that I love, but it was gray and seeing those beautiful pinks made me smile and left me wishing I'd brought my own pop of color into the classroom today.

Sometimes solutions are logical, practical and linear. Other times, they're pops of color, painted bricks and crosswalks that make us stop and pay attention, whether because of their hue, their beauty or their unexpected appearance in a logical, practical, linear, gray world. 

As a person whose sensibilities lean more toward the artistic than the logical, I have to say I prefer the latter. But imagine the power they bring when they're combined with practicality to create a solution that makes us smile.

Not everyone likes the pretty fuchsias that made me stop, smile, and compliment the wearer today. Some people prefer more subtle colors like the gray of my sweater, or the browns and greens that call to mind the serenity of nature. But, whatever our preference, the colors that surround us impact our mood, inspiring serenity, joy, or a host of other emotions. And paying attention to our choices or the colors that capture us can help us make our world a little calmer, brighter, or maybe even safer.

Suddenly, that box of 64 Crayola crayons holds so much more promise than I ever imagined.

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