How important are these symbols of life? Signs are physical communicative forms that guide us in unfamiliar territory while also warning us of impending danger around everyday twists and turns. Even though many move us on the path forward, there are times when they also lead us astray. Caution must be taken seriously in any uncharted area since these representations of protection could mean life or death. Ignoring a road closure sign in the Ozark Mountains could mean a long trek through the thickets and thorns while your vehicle sinks deep within mire. I know.
We exist in a world of universal signs—everywhere. Daily living without the presence of the sign plethora would be disastrous and inconceivable. Humanities reliance upon these physical symbols imperative for everyday survival and protection. How valuable would the gas gauge become while driving through rolling hills of nothingness or on long stretches of desert asphalt? Ask any 16-year old the importance of knowing road signs, or anyone in a foreign airport the value of interpretive symbols. Signs lead the way, providing guidance for those who heed.
Signs can also assume a variety of words, images, sounds, gestures, and objects. The wave of a hand, raised eyebrows, a child’swhistling, or even a column of smoke: all visual clues of a silent communication. Human life is surrounded by verbal and nonverbal signs, each one functioning for our benefit. We read and interpret all forms of signs as an avenue of learning, equipping for life’s journey, and gaining a sense of meaning, whether pictorial, textual, or mute.
Connotations for signs are immeasurable—signs of aging, signs of a heart attack, signs of pregnancy, signs of the cross, signs of bad weather, signs of the time—endless. In addition to the previous list, sign up or sign off, mathematical signs, musical signs, biblical signs, sign language, and even Stevie Wonders’ Signed, Sealed, and Delivered I’m Yours cannot be overlooked.
The maze of definitions and synonyms at times wearisome but the information gleaned ever so revealing.
The presence of physical signs can litter the byways, storefront windows, and even our lives. At times we go round about, veering from the indicated path, only to find ourselves in a tangle of unknown streets, alleyways, and perusing strange areas. Ignoring the obvious directive signs, we travel in circles, hoping to circumvent the apparent necessity for assistance and being lost in the struggle.
In addition, each breath is a sign of living and should also be regarded accordingly.
Sign Post Forest, Watson Lake, Canada: 68,000 visible, accessible forms of communication in one location, surrounded by Yukon’s vast wilderness. Began by a lonesome WWII soldier working on the Alaska Highway in 1942, the incredible labyrinth has since lured spectators worldwide. An organized clutter of chaos, it encompasses several of Watson Lake’s city blocks. The jumble of every conceivable placard nailed to a network of wooden walls entertains passersby for hours.
Warning—disregard any sign in this tourist attraction if you’re lost or looking for a straight course. Additional signs of living can be found on my website: www.corinthrose.com (under travel gallery) Thanks for traveling down life’s road with me.