One thing that I’ve noticed during my time living in East Hants is an art form that doesn’t get a whole lot of attention—save for the annoyance it sometimes causes its residents. It’s something I’ve always had eye for. Graffiti. Some call it vandalism, some call it art. In its awesomeness, I call it both.
During the summer I would take my routine walks over the train tracks in Enfield. The section of the tracks that headed into the trees for a brief few minutes of branch barriered silence eventually reached bridge over the rushing Nine Mile River, and beneath the highway. The bridge is a sight. But only because the pail institutional steel green has been slathered, sprayed, and saturated with colour and paint, on and around, underneath and through. I think this is part of what makes it one of my favorite places.
Yes, I know I’m not supposed to walk ON train tracks. But the few risks I do choose to take in my life are usually more calculated: move to a place where I know no one; going back to school in my late twenties; quit a well paying job and take off to India before even being accepted into said school program; walk over train tracks. I pick my perils.
To some, the idea of graffiti as an art form is debatable—especially the simple scrawls, the pieces which took little effort, if only for angst ridden teens or young adults to leave their mark. Some pieces, I can tell from my own experience with a spray can in my younger years, have taken more than one hour. Splashes of colour, time and effort make them more acceptable as an artistic expression than a simple tag. Still, all artists remain anonymous. Both have a statement to make, reactionary, well thought out, or otherwise. Maybe one is not necessarily more pertinent than another’s.
That’s kind of how I feel about my time here. Some people know me well. They take the time to read my stories. I am grateful, and lucky to have had such positive feedback and personal connection with those who have helped me learn and grow here. I’m sure that for every one person who has provided positive comments, there are probably more who had negative ones they kept to themselves—kind of like those who aren’t fans of graffiti, but are more apt to shake their fists in annoyance than to complain.
Some people in the community I come across don’t even know I’ve existed for the past year and a half. “Did you just start here?” They ask. I get that a lot.
But then there are times I take my trip down the railroad tracks, to the underbelly of the bridge where I’m sure many a ‘deplorable to society’ activity has taken place, and I’ll see a piece of graffiti that has the obviously weather worn, wind beaten marks of time, and I could swear that I’ve never seen it before. It has gone unnoticed maybe due to lack of interest, maybe because I was wrapped up in something else.
If it’s not apparent by the nostalgic tone or the un-careful usage of past and future tense, maybe I should spell it out. I’m leaving the Weekly Press and want to say goodbye and thanks to the people who have shared their stories with me. It may be corny, and maybe I’d portray more of the edgy graffiti writer persona of my younger years if I simply took off having left my mark without a more obvious departure. It hasn’t all been lollypops and sunshine. There have definitely been hard times, too.
But I’m growing on gratitude, kind of like a wildflower grows on a train track.