Freewrite Activity (Centennial Olympic Park)

The bricks at Centennial cause me deep emotional pain. Inscribed on each clay surface reads the name of a person who’s life is forever preserved in the walkway. Some also have special messages such as “love mom and dad” or “Harvard 1996” as to contribute a bit more detail about their lives. But still, the added information isn’t sufficient to cure the curiosity within my mind. Who was Jeff Thomas? What was his life like? What stories does he play a part in? Where is he now? It’s so strange how a tiny piece of brick carved with a few simple words can represent an entire person, forever cemented in anonymity amongst the names of strangers.

Aside from the bricks themselves, I further ponder about the people who have walked along the red and gold path. Obviously, over the decades since the park’s creation, I estimate that thousands have entered through the iron gate. Each too with their own name and story, but do they think the way I do? Do the names touching the soles of their shoes, touch their soul in the way they touch mine?

It’s a question of sensitivity I suppose, but regardless I yearn for quite moments of reflection away from the stress of being a college student. At some points, it feels that all there is in life is grades and papers and emails and stress, but I’m coming to the realization that this way of thinking is poisonous for the soul. Looking at the bricks and interacting with the possibilities of distant lives, gives me perspective about what I want my own name to represent: a life full of kind, simple moments.

 

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