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A Chain Link Fence Share This on LinkedIn   Share This on Google   Tweet This   Forward This

31 July 2014

One of our regular urban hikes is down O'Shaughnessy Blvd. between Glen Canyon Park and O'Shaughnessy Hollow. In the small town of Glen Park there's a used bookstore, an interesting grocery store and a modernized branch of the library. But one day, as we were approaching the center of the little village, we ran into an unexpected treat.

As we came down Chenery and approached Diamond, there was an empty gravel lot to our right. A chain link fence separated it from the street. Urban life at its most dismal, you might think.

A Sign. Just hanging out.

We averted our eyes and had almost walked past it. But something caught our eye. The fence was hung with a homemade sign.

It was just a piece of wood with a couple of holes drilled in the top corners so it could be tied to the fence. And some Scrabble letters glued to it, spelling out this message:

In all my life, I never met anyone as beautiful as you.

Finally! Someone had appreciated us for our true value. It didn't even bother us that it was only a piece of wood. That's how Pinocchio got started, after all.

We began to make a point of going by that fence every now and then expecting to see new messages providing the same shot in the arm. Once it was plastered with old record album covers painted with encouraging words. Other times it was just a simple:

I love you, too.

Or even more simply:

You are enough.

Who was doing this?

We imagined some old coot who lived on that side of the fence was staying up late after he'd polished off his bottle of wine to work on these signs, a little jazz on the radio. About three in the morning, the paint still damp, he'd stumble down the stairs and hang them. Mostly straight. Then stumble back up the stairs to sleep until noon when the aspiring sun had figured out it would have to graciously desist and start its descent.

But life is funny.

Whatever you imagine the situation to be, it's something else. Entirely. Every time. We never get it right. Ever.

There's no buzzed old coot making the signs in the middle of the night. The signs are made by a social worker and mother of three named Shannon Weber. She'd been trying to cover that fence with flowers but didn't have a water source. So she put up the signs.

She also put up a blog where you an follow her public displays of affection as she attempts "to change the world one love note at a time."

And here's her TEDxEncinitas presentation in which she explains how it all started and what it's all about (but get yourself a box of tissues first):

See what we mean? She could never pass for an old coot.

Her Web site has a map of the places all over the world where love notes have been posted and a shop so you can get an inexpensive supply of them. You can also download a free Love Note PDF to get you started. Take it to Photokina.

It's a little hard to shake the image of an old coot being behind all this but we may get used to the idea of a young woman propagating one of those things you rarely hear about any more.

A force for good in the world.

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