(NOTE: Based on yesterday’s The Daily Post writing prompt)

Sidewalks are as close to spaceships as we will come on this planet. Moreso than cars, trains or airplanes even. They take us to places that can fill us with wonder or dread. They hold the potential to unlock mysteries our minds can’t even fathom.

When I think of going somewhere I think of a sidewalk. It’s slow and steady and lets your mind wander while you’re on your way. Driving involves work that takes up too much of your mind. Sidewalks, though, are slow. They force you to slow down and look around. They fill your eyes and ears and nose with so much information that your cares can melt away. If I’m struggling with something, I go for a walk. I put one foot in front of the other and make my way around, my mind flitting between the problem I’m noodling out, the trees around me, the shape of the bush in front of me, the rabbit darting away as it sees me coming, the way the water in a nearby pond ripples as the air rushes around me.

Sidewalks are magical. They can take us miles away from home physically and eons away mentally. Which makes it so disappointing that they’re under-utilized. You never hear of a sidewalk jam, but you should. If the world were aligned a bit differently, if society still valued community over commodities, sidewalks would be where the action is.

As a kid, a sidewalk can define your universe. Maybe you remember how old you were when your parents finally let you ride your bike on the sidewalk all the way down to the end of your block on your own. Or you knew exactly the best route to take to get to school.

I can remember feeling how different the neighborhood I grew up in looked during block parties because I was seeing the houses around me from the street, not the sidewalk. Yes, it’s only a matter of a few feet difference, but that can be everything. A few feet is the world, if you’re looking at it the right way. A sidewalk offers a certain perspective, one that can’t be found anywhere else. More than streets, more than raillines, sidewalks offer connections to the people around us while streets and the cars that drive on them take us away too quickly.

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