Walking back home: joy of serendipitous pavement art

It’s not a long walk home from aerobic dance class, just five small blocks, and I’ve walked that route hundreds of times. But it’s still full of beautiful surprises. Walk home with me now and I’ll show you what I saw tonight.

  1. Small bunch of grapes, elegantly squashed.
Small bunch of green grapes squashed on the footpath

Squashed grapes: a sweet bouquet with a juicy shadow

2. A question mark on the footpath.

Question mark on footpath

Huh? Just what I was wondering…

3. A gloriously decorated parking spot.

Number 23 on footpath with yellow and white squiggles

Carpark no. 23 comes with mysterious runes

4. A tree with a splendid pair of antennae

Tree with street lamps apparently growing from its crown

Is it a tree or a very large insect?

5. Ngaio tree growing in the gutter: good luck, darling.

Miniature ngaio tree trying to grow in a dry gutter

Miniature ngaio tree trying to grow in a dry gutter. So far so good.

6. Road cones are a beautiful sight if you’re waiting for fibre-optic cable to reach your property.

Road cones in Queen Street

Road cones in Queen Street: progress

7. Before installing cable, workers put squiggles everywhere. But I don’t like the look of this one.

Workers' notes painted in purple on pavement: Dunk

Purple prose: but what are they going to dunk?

8. Nearly home, and it’s crab-apples and lichen: cute, ay?

Crab-apples and lichen on Queen Street footpath

Crab-apples and lichen on Queen Street footpath

As my friend Dale says, ain’t life grand? If we are lucky enough to be able to walk, such visual delights are just around the corner. If our luck stretches to a smartphone, there’s a bonus.

I tend to notice very small things, and take pleasure in them. And I’ve got a theory about why this is so. I believe that’s an echo of a Japanese aesthetic, and I thank my time in Kyoto for this extra layer of delight.

30 thoughts on “Walking back home: joy of serendipitous pavement art

  1. alison41 says:

    Enjoyed walking with you. Plus the tree with a giant insect (?) shudder, if it’s that big!

    1. Join me any time. I will protect you from the insects. I think that’s an ant.

  2. bone&silver says:

    Delightful; I once attended a show in Adelaide where you put earphones on and walked the city to a pre-described sound and wordscape, looking at precisely such details… lovely idea.

    1. Oh, nice! Did the experience change your perception subsequently?

      1. bone&silver says:

        Definitely: an openness to focussing on the minutae, and also that Art is everywhere, not just galleries or theatres!

      2. That’s lovely 😊

  3. Isn’t it amazing how much you actually “see”, when we make an effort to see the small details that surround us!! I hope you don’t mind in the future may use this idea!

    1. Please please do! Then we can walk your footpaths too.

      1. In the meantime I do Neighbourhood Walks wherever we housesit.

  4. Dan Antion says:

    Good luck on getting the fiber. Is that ‘dunk’ or ‘clunk’ – neither sound hopeful.

    1. Luckily I have fibre already, and that’s “dunk”. Ouch.

  5. toutparmoi says:

    I think that tree is sending signals to aliens. I’d hurry past it, if I were you.

    1. Durn, you’re right.

  6. cedar51 says:

    photographing cracks and bumps is always interesting – sometimes you can really see something arty within them as well…maybe the ? was something to do with a little round dip just above/below the “dot” on the ?

    1. This is getting metaphysical.

  7. Robyn Haynes says:

    Rachel thanks for reminding us of the wonder in small things. I once saw a mattress dumped on the side of a busy road. My walking buddies and I discussed the reasons for it being there all the way home 🙂

    1. My default reasoning: left there for a passing poor student moving into an unfurnished flat.

      1. Robyn Haynes says:

        Mmm a possibility. We surmised and angry wife tossing her husband out and then feeling some remorse for his lack of a bed.

      2. Far more dramatic!

  8. rummuser says:

    Thank you for visiting and liking my blog post.

    I admire your presence and mindfulness while walking. You inspire me to start photographing details like these for my blog too.

  9. What a gift to be able to see tiny pleasures in every day things. Such an appreciation for the wonders of life! I loved the question mark best. 🙂

    1. A solitary question mark begets other question marks, as in, what? Why? Who? Thanks for your comments:)

      1. Absolutely!

  10. Aunt Beulah says:

    I think you are a perfect example of beauty being in the eye of the beholder. Thanks for letting me find beauty with you this morning.

    1. And I already know how good you are at spotting spots of beauty. Sweet peas!

  11. Roy says:

    c/unk : cable/unknown? Or maybe it says clunk. It’s all very inauspicious.

  12. I enjoyed the “journey.”

    Take care —

    Neil S.

    1. Thank you.

    1. Thank you for the link. Loved your pavements!