Follow the Red Painted Lines

There is a red line running down the center of Trade Street in Winston Salem, NC. It’s thick and bright—like a fire engine, shocking on the old sidewalks. Taken aback, you wonder, how long has this red line been here? Where have I been not to notice this?  You might even say to yourself I wonder where this goes?

And dare yourself to follow.

Who would not want to follow a challenging red line? Artist or no, it’s hard to resist. And if you do follow, you won’t be disappointed.

Whether you choose (as my former college roommates and I did) to sing “follow the red painted lines” (to the tune of “Follow the Yellow Brick Road”) or not is entirely up to you, but as we rounded the corner and stumbled upon the city’s most recent park, we were pleasantly surprised and a little awed at what we found.

The red lines did in fact lead to the ARTivity Park, which I recalled having read about a few months prior, but seeing it completed did speak to the artist in me. The red lines were raised in places making the park both interactive and inviting. In fact, as we explored we even discovered sidewalk chalk, which we proceeded to make good use of in our foray. We may be 30, but we’re not too old to let our artist children out to play. Unfortunately, we were never misted. Though on a hot day like Saturday, it would have been nice for the fountain feature to have been utilized a bit more frequently, the shaded Artist hub was certainly a delight and I found myself wishing I’d brought a notebook or sketchpad.

As we walked away, following the red lines that held such mystery before, I watched people hurry about their business. Some people noticed the lines and commented, but didn’t follow. Some people ignored the lines—I refuse to believe they didn’t see them. They’re impossible to miss. These people just chose to ignore what was right before them. A select, a very select few, followed. And those who did found themselves in this park, a delightful escape from the business of everyday and a step into something…new.

The past few months for me have been a roller coaster of decisions, more so than the typical, every day type. More like life changing decisions where you have to decide to follow a red line or not. And it occurred to me that following the red line—well, it’s a lot like taking a leap of faith. You don’t know where that red line is going to lead you. After all, it’s red. Warning. Caution. Very few good things are associated with the color red. And yet, if you don’t take that leap, you just ignore those red lines, you can miss out on something amazing that right there in front of your face—something there for the taking. And red, after all, can be passionate, loving, and fire-y too.

And so, you dare yourself to follow.

Because that’s the only way to lead yourself to something new.

Ashley Carmichael is the author of Valerie’s Vow a Christian Romance which can be purchased at or Amazon. Follow Ashley on twitter @amcarmichael13 and Facebook.


Filed under writing

7 responses to “Follow the Red Painted Lines

  1. Sounds much more fun than the yellow brick road

  2. What an innovative idea for a community, Ashley!!! I hope more towns adopt this wonderful concept of an ARTivity park for all its citizens. I enjoyed hearing about it. Thank you for sharing.

  3. Glad you and your friends dared yourselves and found something wonderful and inspiring. Glad I followed the red, painted lines and read your blog!

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