Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Everywhere a Sign

Gimmicks attract tourists. Things like the biggest ball of rubber bands, the largest sculpture of a squirrel. The largest collection of road signs in the world. That's where we are.

It's called Sign Post Forest and it makes this little town of Watson Lake, a dusty respite on the Alaska Highway, a popular place for tourists to stop and play. And to leave their footprint, a piece from their life, a road sign from their town (swiped in the night?) a wooden plaque they carved their name on or even their license plate.
Everything gets nailed up on square wooden poles. And everything has words on it indicating whose footprint it is, who they are, where they are from.

There must be hundreds of these poles bearing thousands of signs. At last count, there were 72,000 signs. A battalion of footprints from around the world.

We see remnants of Germany, Japan, Holland, every Canadian province, Italy, Spain and, of course, the states and towns of the U.S.

And we see inventive footprints; outside the box footprints: an Igloo waterbottle, guitar, a Scrabble Board, flipflops, sneakers, fishing boots. But mostly, street signs. Mostly enthusiasm. Footprints from around the world.

And we see people darting through the "trees" of this forest with signs and hammers, to add their own presence, their own Kilroy Was Here" sign. There own footprint.

At the end of our hike, we find my favorite: A little plastic trash can, nailed upside down on the pole. Singed by Walter, Katie and Theresa, from various towns in Georgia. It's the message that I like the best: "No garbage here; life is wonderful."

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