This road near our house has two signs – the old one and the new one. The old one is on the left. It was carved years ago, by hand, and was the only way the road was identified for decades. The new sign, on the right was put up a couple years ago as the old sign was worn out. Now a modern, metal, green, ‘official’ street sign adorns the road at the closet intersection. All three signs point the same direction, each providing it’s own representation of the street. Each one telling you a little bit about teh people who live there.
The ‘old’ sign tells us that someone cared enough about where they lived to carve a handmade sign. They carefully whittled out each letter and the arrow, hung the sign it in full view and let it represent their work and their home. What a wonderful way to point people to your world, make a sign that literally says it all. Then time takes control of it and begins to wear it down. I like that after all these years you can still read the name and understand what was being communicated. Along comes the ‘new’ sign to clearly point people in the right direction. It states the name and shows you which way to go, it just doesn’t seem to have as much character as the old one. And now modern times have brought the generic, green street sign that looks like every other green street sign. The interest and personality are no where to be found. You get where you want to go without having any idea of what you are about to discover.
There are signs all along our path in life. We read them, but do we really see what they are telling us? There is the information on the sign and so much more. They provide details and insights, but we are often too busy to stop and learn. We want to get where we are going – quickly and effectively. We want to get there in time for our appointment or to meet our goal. We wnat waht we want, when we want it, and as quickly as possible. Time is money, so don’t waste it. But we are wasting it…we are wasting the opportunity to learn more than just the literal message. We are missing the depth behind it all, the character, the essence of what the sign is leading us to.
We have walked this street hundreds of times over the years. Only today did I truly appreciate the people behind the signs. I stopped and looked and saw a slice of Americana that is fading away in our modern times. I realized my neighbors are talented people, even if I have never met them face to face. I understood their pride in our community and their investment in making the world a better place. All I had to do was stop and read the signs.