I’ll preface this by saying that in all the years I lived away from here, there was probably never a day I didn’t think at some point of the brick sidewalks of my hometown. They are not just any bricks, physically or symbolically. They’re from the 19th century. They were cast and baked here. We all recognize their patterns, because they are in our souls. They are part of what called me back to this town in the mountains of Virginia.
My friend Beverly Tucker describes them more eloquently than I could have imagined. In doing so she speaks not only of the bricks in our village’s historically wealthy streets but also of those up in what was the African American quarter of town, on Diamond Hill. Here’s what she has to say:
Strolling through the village one is struck by the uniqueness of the pathways and walks. The walks are paved with bricks specifically designed for Lexington, Virginia (otherwise known to us as “ the village”) and are appropriately referred to as the “Lexington bricks.” They are subtle in appearance, dignified in their silence, a dignity earned through the most difficult measures. If one should be inclined to notice the symbolism that links Lexington’s African American community to those pathways, the metaphor presents itself obviously.
The brick walks have been present there in their role of quiet support… as leaders… as followers… deeply grooved… only to be worn so smooth that their original form often fades to tiny rises and falls apparent only to the touch. They have been relocated, walked on, written on, spat on, broken, cracked, bought and sold.
In perfect response and form, they remain strong and true to purpose. They have felt the heel marks of history, slept under the snow, baked in the sun, enjoyed the spattering of afternoon thunderstorms, been kissed by the sugar maple, blown over by the wind, and still they look up and remain unmoved from their strength.
The bond is greater for its historical journey to the final experience and safety on the hill called Diamond…. and they will be bound for as long as they last no matter the triumph or defeat that makes its way to their place. They have been fired to face adversity and endure. That strength and endurance is firmly stacked for us to make our way from here to there. Look down to see their provenance. Look up to see their prophecy. The silence can now be heard…………..