This following paragraph was created for an assignment in my current writing course. We are discussing the meaning of “place,” specifically how humans view their surroundings and choose to describe it. I was to give a definition for a noun/landform/concept that has special meaning in my life. I went for the abstract to tell about the literal- I wanted to ask a question. First read the “dictionary entry.”
Double Dividing Lines: Two yellow stripes, long and parallel, overpower a mass of black pavement. They are not freshly painted; they are faded, with angry splotches of tar degrading their light glow. One stripe is about two inches away from the other. The pair separate north and south, the two lines between two different worlds. When I stand over the yellow twins I am in two places at once. On one side of the lines lies civilization, on the other side the bare earth. To see the lines correctly is to view when facing the east. For those yellow straws never seem to cease, instead they stretch toward the horizon. That is, until they meet the Sierra Nevadas, who are looming formidably in the distance. The mountains appear to mock the little lines; they tower above the street on which the lines call home. Yet to the human the lines seem so magnified, so important. They are trusted to direct transportation. And these particular lines mark where men dwell and do not. When facing the mountains, with the lines beneath, you see a housing development to the right. Monopoly-style homes stacked in an endless row. This is the civilization, where homes are enclosed by a block wall and children’s cries can be heard on suburban sidewalks. While both stripes silently watch the street, the one on the right gets to hear these cries. The left line, however, is near the dirty meadow. On its street side lies furrows of dust, emptiness. The left line hears nothing but the wind.
For me the civilization side of the lines represents my society, my duties, my culture, my routines. On the other side, with the pure dust and open sky, I see my mind, my heart, my soul. So I ask, to which side should I go? Right now I am in-between.
The mountains loom forward, hovering above the street. They challenge me to choose.