Full of Green and Blue
I started my journey with two paint chips in my pocket, a little unsure of where to go. I began walking down Fullerton, towards the L stop, prepared to just get on and randomly get off when I felt like it, or maybe when the chips told me, but then thought the better of it and decided to explore the length of Fullerton instead. I had walked a little ways down Fullerton on a previous walk for fun, but had never gone all the way down to the lakeshore.
After crossing the annoyingly large intersection of Fullerton, Halsted, and Lincoln, I see a small construction tunnel and get really excited because the wood used in it was the same color as my paint chip! As I stand in the tunnel, I hear the sound of a car honking as it drives by, impatient because some guy in front of him on his phone didn’t step on the gas when the light turned green. The green tunnel wall feels a little rough under my fingertips, but the green paint smooths down the areas that might give me a splinter.
I continue walking, paint chips in hand, down Fullerton, eager to see what I come across next. When I get to the next street, I see a sign about parking in the snow and notice that the color perfectly matches my blue paint chip. The sign is pretty high up, so I adventurously decide to stand on the light pole, although I am nervous because I can hear cars driving by behind me. It smells like car exhaust around me as cars stop and then accelerate after the Stop sign. I quickly jump down from my high perch and walk a little down the street to my right, Geneva Terrace.
In front of the first house on this street, a man works with a loud machine to cut up the cement of the front steps; half of the house looks torn down, but it is obvious that it will be rebuilt into something newer. In the street in front of this house sits a large green dumpster with a blue tarp over it. I wonder what’s inside, but I assume it’s waste from the construction.
I keep walking.
On the other side of the street, I spot a really cute little church, but what really draws me across the street is the partly blue sign that welcomes people to the church. The sign swings a lot from the wind around me, which also makes the leaves beneath me swirl around on the ground. The sign is cold and smooth, which contrasts with the roughly textured tree behind it. The fonts of the sign are used in an interesting way, and as a previous high-school-yearbook editor, I don’t really like it.
After crossing Clark Street, I find a recycle bin that advertises Clark Street, set up by the Lincoln Park Chamber of Commerce. It smells like trash and cigarettes, from a guy who just walked by me. Across from the recycling bin is a Bank of America, its sign written in the same blue as my paint chip as well.
I continue walking down Fullerton, getting to a slightly hidden lilypond. I walk through and, although I do not really expect to find anything blue, there is green all around me. Even though they are obvious, I take a picture of the moss on the rocks and the lily pads in the pond, mostly because I think it looks pretty. In this area it truly smells like Fall- cold air mixed with dried, fallen leaves- and it reminds me of when I used to play frisbee in this weather with my friends at home. I miss it.
After crossing Canon Drive, walking under Lakeshore Drive, and almost being hit by a crazy biker, I finally make it to the lakefront. The wind picks up, making me regret not bringing my windbreaker, and the waves crash hard against the concrete walkway, sometimes splashing up a few feet and drenching the cement. Immediately to my right I spot a blue garbage can that, in the right lighting, matches my paint chip, so I try to take an artsy picture with the skyline in the background. I continue to try to be artsy by taking pictures of the water with the yellow ladder in coming up out of it, even though the colors do not really match either of my paint chips.
I decide to officially end my walk here and end up sitting on the large concrete steps for a while. I really enjoyed this walk and liked the idea of letting colors lead the way.
What is mappable? What is un-mappable?
In my opinion, many things are mappable, however, much of what makes a place truly important is un-mappable. Streets, landmarks, even sometimes people can be mapped out, but maps cannot always show the significance of these things. Maps do not show the story behind the object; a house can be put on a map, but it can not tell us how that house came to be there. It can’t show the blood, sweat, and tears the owner could have put into building it; it can’t show the events that have happened there; it can’t show the memories created. Maps are good for giving directions or pointing out important landmarks, but they can’t explain what they show. For example, you could map out a neighborhood and show every house that has a dog, but that won’t tell you the story behind each dog, what they’re like, how they came to live there. You can use a map to learn a city, all the blocks, every building, but you won’t really know the city unless you go out into it and experience it by talking to the people and learning their stories.