Note this post is for the National Day of Writing. It is being submitted to Bud Hunt’s gallery in the National Gallery of Writing. It has nothing to do with education or technology or does it ….
|my school sidewalk
Ode to Concrete
To most people concrete is grey, cold, sterile, and under their feet. It is hard, rough, practical, taken for granted, and ugly.
To me concrete is the greatest material in the world. It is the ultimate in tensions.
Concrete is natural. It is aggregate(sand and stone), cement, and water. It is earth. It was invented by the Romans and it is the only thing left from the ancient world not built of stone.
Concrete is technology. It is man-made and full of chemicals: fly ash, water reducers, superplasticizers, accelerators, and retarders. There are complicated mix designs for innumerable applications. It is chemistry and science at its finest. There is even translucent concrete now.
Concrete is hard. It is sidewalk that scratches knees.
Concrete is soft. It is like pancake batter or chunky soup when mixed. It changes form. It is fluid and then very solid. It is a shape-shifter that adapts to any container. It can be formed, molded, carved, or engraved.
Concrete is strong. It is
walls that hold back earth, foundations that hold up massive skyscrapers, and bridges that hold thousands of cars.
Concrete is weak. It shifts in cold climates and always cracks. It requires steel inside for tensile strength. When designed and placed improperly it crumbles under earthquakes and kills thousands.
Concrete is ugly. It stands for industrialism and urban landscapes that are bleak with no life: the concrete jungle.
Concrete is beautiful.
It can be formed, molded, carved, engraved, ground, polished, and stained. It can be personalized with embedded objects. It is my art and I love it for its flaws and imperfections.
Concrete is a lot like me.
PS Here is a slideshow of some of my concrete art.