Sidewalk Calligraphy

Sidewalk Calligraphy - student project

For several years I've been walking around the Sugar Bowl at Castle Island in South Boston for exercise. I keep my head down and pound out the miles or walk with a friend and chat away.

Recently... in a stretch of pavement I noticed this wonderful, elegant mark. It's repeated over and over, every few yards, with a few variations. We all see these marks on the sidewalks and pavement and know it's really none of our business...something we don't really need to worry about, put there as a guide for utility workers' projects. But I love those strokes and their private language. 

When I listened to this Skillshare class I wasn't sure what to get curious about and then there it was! I decided to focus on this one mark because I felt it's installer had done something really beautiful.

As I was photographing it, a friend came by who works in the "trades". I asked him if he knew what it was. At first he said something kind of generic and then he said that he thought it means that whatever it's referring to goes both ways.... forward and back, north and south, for example. That sounded reasonable, but he said he was just guessing.

I was adamant about trying to figure this out by talking to people, as opposed to using google. Today I saw a few workers in safety vest and asked them what they thought it was. First question to me was, "What color is it?"

I showed them the photo and they said that white is a upcoming excavation project, and that it was a very good looking arrow. Usually it's a line with the arrow at each end. I'm satisfied with what it is...but I think I'm going to try to dig up the actual person who made those marks.

I'll check back in if I meet the "artist".

Thank you for raising my curiosity and making my life more interesting.