Concrete Evidence

This photo was taken on a Saturday morning at about 10 am in early Spring 2012 


The location was on Capital Hill, Washington DC. 


The "Take It!"  came from yet another surprise, Oh yes!  An ever so unexpected display of unusual graffiti. It was one of those things that I felt I could do something about. Namely get rid of a big weed that had grown into a bush that was doing its winter dormancy in an elevated bricked in center median strip. I had watched it flourish and grow each year to the point that it was not only an eye sore but might even grow enough in the forthcoming spring and summer season to threaten putting scratches on my vehicle. I pass by this site 4 or 5 times a week, so action needed to be taken since the city was not doing its thing here. I chose a Saturday that was forecast to be cloudy and took my big pruning shears along with a shovel to see if I could at least prune it back and maybe shovel off some of the runs of weeds that were growing in the separations in the brick work. 


The day arrived and I got to the location at about the time expected and found a place to park right across the street from the median where my self appointed project was waiting. I took the shears and the shovel out of the back of the car and jay walked right to my job site. The traffic is almost always minimal on the weekends in the city at that time of year. I went right to work and in short order had the bush pruned down into small pieces (no more than 4 to 5 inches of branch in length). Even though I had not gotten the bush out including its roots, I figured that would have it set back for at least another year or two before it could grow back and be a nuisance again. I then ran my shovel up a few of the sections of the grass/weeds and pushed all the refuse into the gutter next to the median. I had a faint hope that a street sweeper might come along and pick it up so that this little bit of near the Nation's Capitol Building might look just a little bit better. It was starting to get a little bit cold, so I decided that rather than get cold myself, I would wrap it up and be on my way. 


As I was making my way toward the cross walk at the end of the median strip a pick up truck went by me with the  official markings of the city on it, undoubtedly from the public works department. Well you can guess what went through my  head, but I kept my head down and avoided any eye contact. I then made my way back to my vehicle and lifted the tail window and put the gardening tools in the back. I then closed the back and in doing so took an unviewed step backward and felt an unexpected unevenness to the pavement. I looked down and saw that it was a gob of cement that was the cause of the unevenness under my feet. For some reason I took a second look at this bit of refuse. What revealed itself, as you can see was graffiti taken to another level.  Shoe prints and initials pressed into what was the then wet concrete had put together an unheralded additional monument with clear sight lines to the Capitol of the United States of America! The creator may be the only person who knows just how long it has avoided discovery and potential clean up. It has enough dirt that has accumulated in the surface to bring out the detail of the faintness of second show print as well as the initials imprinted.  


The After Take: I have been by this site many times since my initial discovery and had many a muse as I look to see if it is still there. Yes,  as of this writing it still is. I  sometimes think of at what time of the day or night was this bit of stealth put into place. Was it the work of one or, were there several that were in on making it happen?  How many years has it been there?   How often does the creator come back to check on their work?  I also wonder if it will be discovered by a city crew that will remove it like they do other more conventional graffiti. 


Then there is the big one!  Will it be I who takes the initiative to clean this up??? Nope! For me, it is more fun to keep it as a game for us to visit on an annual basis. Who knows, we might find out who has done it. 


Hope you enjoyed the fun of all this as much I have and continue to do so. 




PS: If this were a readily seen eye sore, I would have tried to pry it up whole and take it home as a keep sake, with a possibility for it to have a designated location in my garden. I just may go back and take away the decoy globs just to send the originator a message, that the discovery has been made.

Write a comment

Comments: 1
  • #1

    Gayle Lee (Saturday, 07 April 2012 11:41)

    Quite a stealth project, Bruce. Bravo! What an unexpected discovery! A new degree of graffiti! Wonder just how long it has been there? What a story it could tell! Fun to think about. Thanks for revealing it to others for their recreational and creative thinking too!