Asphalt Flowers and Chalk-White Arrows

The cracked, wobbly-bricked, phlem-covered sidewalk of Chengdu has run out. It may not be a glamorous sidewalk, but after a couple of years devoted to wandering it, like the fictional yellow brick road, I’m pretty happy with the adventures and friends I’ve found through its twists and turns.

Nearly two years to the day after touching down at Shuangliu Airport, we’re headed back there again, suitcases and carry-ons in tow. We’ll spend a brief bit of time on American soil, visiting family and friends, taking care of doctors and dentist appointments and spending a pretty penny on electronics and clothing, but soon we’ll head off again, bound for a new set of walkways, ones that currently contain quite a bit of uncertainty, but if I knew what was at the end of the sidewalk, the trip would quickly lose its appeal.

We are off again, looking for the places where asphalt flowers grow and chalk-white arrows go.

Searching. Searching. For the place where the sidewalk ends.

Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein

There is a place where the sidewalk ends
And before the street begins,
And there the grass grows soft and white,
And there the sun burns crimson bright,
And there the moon-bird rests from his flight
To cool in the peppermint wind.

Let us leave this place where the smoke blows black
And the dark street winds and bends.
Past the pits where the asphalt flowers grow
We shall walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And watch where the chalk-white arrows go
To the place where the sidewalk ends.

Yes we’ll walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And we’ll go where the chalk-white arrows go,
For the children, they mark, and the children, they know
The place where the sidewalk ends

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