June 23, 2015
(This is part of a 365 project during my 70th years where I write and illustrate a blog on each day’s gift.)
|Freedom of Speech Wall, Charlottesville, Virginia|
A ride to Charlottesville, not too far from Spirit Dancer Lodge, led to a pedestrian mall with a freedom of speech wall. It is a two-sided slate wall about 54 feet long and close to eight feet high. The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution is permanently inscribed on one section and the rest of the wall is there for anyone who wants to write something in chalk. There was no chalk in sight but the visitor’s center helped us out with chalk and asked us to leave it there for others to write something. The writing constantly changes, as does anything that is written in chalk. Maybe the impermanence itself is a reminder that we can never assume our message will last and that we must allow it to change or continue to re-write it.
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
The permanent inscription was difficult to read because of all the other chalk marks, but someone had the clever idea to rub yellow chalk over that part of the amendment so it would stand out. Some of the writing was difficult to read; some exclaimed, “I love so-and-so," and other messages said things like “I dream of life on a farm” or “Bitch” or “Give me liberty or give me beer,” or “I love people (mostly)."
With my piece of blue chalk, I wrote, “BE”—a message left open to interpretation. However, I think it was mostly a reminder to myself.
My gift today is a piece of chalk and slate.
You can find links to my other posts on this project here: