Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Divine Post-Its

This is what I want to believe: There are messages written all over the world that are meant for each of us, for our own eyes, for just the right time.

It's like when you pull a book off the shelf while dusting and happen to open to the dog-eared corner of the page that holds the poem you first fell in love to, and nudged in the crease of that page is the receipt of two glasses of sangria from last December and the address of an old friend you've since lost. The next thing you know, you've stumbled back into yourself, into your memory, into your own heart.

I'm trying to do a better job of noticing these little divine post-its. Sometimes I leave things on purpose for myself to find - in books, journals, handbags, my guitar case. More often though, I comb the streets of my city to see what others are leaving. After all, these street messages are meant for me too and anyone else with the eyes to see them. I've been carrying my camera with me on walks and on my commute hoping that it forces me into awareness.

Last spring, I had to make a decision whether or not to move back to California. I spent a long April weekend in San Francisco just roaming the streets, visiting my old favorite nooks, trying to locate the pulse of the city again and determine whether it matched my own heartbeat at that time. Also around that time, an anonymous street artist was making sidewalk stamps and leaving messages all over the city. They were stamped in dozens of places - at bus stops, next to the burrito shop, on tennis courts. With each walk and each uncovered stamp, I started to feel the pulse again.

After that trip, I returned home to Chicago with a continued desire to find more messages. That same week, I came across one of my favorite post-it's to-date on the side of a rusty old dumpster:

As I write this on a foggy, summer San Francisco evening, you all know how the story unfolded. And I'm still seeking and finding dozens of new messages every month, many of them here, but many on my journeys elsewhere too. Even if you don't live in a big city, these post-its can still reach you. Go ahead - dust the bookshelf. Open the old wallet tucked in the dresser drawer. Take a long walk. Start looking. Start seeing. Even a dilapidated gas station sign can be a divine post-it: The words "Fill Up" are still saying something.

1 comment:

Ray said...

I like your article about Divine Post-Its. I found a cool one last month I blogged a haiku about, then ended up writing my 99th song about.
Walking home one night I looked down on the sidewalk to see a multicolored chalk heart containing the enigmatic inscription: "EMILY SMELLS GOOD".