When we walk in the centre of the city, we’re surrounded by strangers and unfamiliar faces. Everyone’s walking towards somewhere for some reason. Sometimes I wonder in my mind, what’s happening in their lives. Amidst all the blank and neutral faces, I can’t always really tell. There’s this distant, emotionless and otherworldly expression. Then there are several people who might be using their phone, heads down and you have a game of dodging them. From the sea of crowds, there might be a sudden smile that forms or a laugh you hear in the distance.
On a grey day, the streets are silent, until a group of friends, family or travelers have a conversation nearby. You might hear a busker singing or the sound of rain dancing on the umbrellas. If you stare into a cafe, you might catch someone engaged in a conversation, a murmur of chatter, studying on their laptop or staring out the window. Walking is such an important part of our daily life that is often overlooked. It’s often seen as mundane and simply a means of getting us from point A to point B. Walking immerses us into the present and allows our thoughts to flow.
Walking on the streets means observing, daydreaming, wondering, people watching, thinking and sensing. The way we move and walk says a lot about who we are. Although, sometimes expressions can be deceiving. Perhaps you’ve heard of the resting face, and sometimes it can make one seem unapproachable. It can also be inaccurate, because many of us may have been asked if we’re okay, even on our best days. What is it about city life, that causes us to be so distant. From growing up in the countryside, it was natural to smile and say Good morning to a stranger. It was normal to see people you know, each time you head into town.
When we’re in a place with a larger population, many people keep to themselves. It’s also a sense of security, safety, time and focus. Some people are in a rush, some people are focused, some are talking on the phone and others are deep in thought (or daydreaming). There are moments when observing where I feel some people are more present than others. It’s a wonderful thing when you suddenly see a smile form and the crinkles around someones eyes, that makes one realise how much a smile creates light. Blank faces can often make our eyes appear empty.
It’s incredible to think how many people we walk past in a lifetime, knowing that we’ll never see them again or talk to them. We might see their faces in our subconscious when we dream, but there’s this gentle nudge that you’re not alone on this Earth. Everyone has a purpose. Then there’s a lovely thought of how many times we may have subtly walked past or even encountered someone for weeks, months and years, that we later became friends with. Every person we have ever gotten to know, was once a stranger to us. They were once just a blank face in the sea of crowds.
That’s why it’s important to not judge a book by a cover. We can never really tell the content of someones character, until we truly take the time to get to know them. One way walking can be beneficial, is that it helps us for a moment to focus on the world, rather than ourselves. It reminds us to look around and take a breath of air. Thinking about the idea of blank faces, it makes me think of a white canvas. An artist can create something magical and colourful that brings so much emotion. In a way, we’re the artist in our lives, painting the strokes and textures, choosing what colours to paint with. The ocean of blank faces may seem unreadable, yet each face has such a unique and interesting story to tell.