Most cities and towns in America, and all over the world, have at least one stoplight to help facilitate the safe movement of automobiles and to avoid collisions. At many of our busiest street and highway intersections all over the globe, there are traffic lights - green for go, yellow for caution, and red for stop.
Everyone universally knows what to do.
Some have them in excess; like this art installation in London, England called "Traffic Light Tree" at 5TG, Trafalgar Way, London.
Here in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, we take pride that there is not one single stop light in our entire city limits to help facilitate the movement of automobiles.
We move them safely around town ourselves.
We are careful with each other; and our cars, motorcycles, etc.
We exhibit genuine care. Love. Gratitude. Appreciation.
Reality check disclaimer: Alright. Alright. Do we have auto accidents? Of course we do; nobody is perfect. But compared to other cities, we do not have nearly as many.
I really see this unique fact - having no stoplights - as something else that is so very special about our beloved Eureka. It's got to be symbolic of something from days gone by and the more I think about it, the more I wonder - what could it mean?
After some deliberation, I speculate that it could possibly symbolize one of two sentiments:
1.) A culture of allow.
2.) A culture of historic preservation.
Hmmmm, it very well may symbolize both at the same time.
A CULTURE OF ALLOW
Here in Eureka Springs, we go. We just go. We're constantly going. We're forward thinking. Letting others go. Passing. Leading. Guiding. Turning. Swerving. We're always moving forward.
We allow. We accept. We understand. We participate. We let someone do something or make something happen.
Having no stoplights here is another aesthetic of joy embedded in our city culture.
Resistance is defined as a refusal to give in to something that slows down or prevents something from proceeding forward. In Eureka Springs, somewhere along the many years that make the amazing story of this place, it was determined that we all do just fine moving about with our automobiles without something slowing us down or preventing us from proceeding forward.
Having no stoplights was a choice that was agreed upon somewhere in time in Eureka Springs. Therefore, it established our city culture which over time turned into a culture of interaction, safety, care, courteousness and subsequently evolved into what it is today - a radically inclusive place on Earth.
All are welcome here.
When you do not have stoplights to aid in the safe passage of automobiles, it requires motorists to pay attention. Interact. Be polite, be courteous, safe, careful, we let someone pass. We yield. We watch for bikers. We watch for pedestrians. It requires us to stay in the moment.
I mean, think about it, we don't even call it a go-light or a caution-light. It's a stoplight. Society focuses on this light to tell you to stop and doesn't indicate this as either of the two other options provided. A stop sign, on the other hand, has one sole purpose - to tell you that it is absolutely necessary to stop. Yes. We do have those! :)
A CULTURE OF HISTORIC PRESERVATION
This one decision established the culture of this town requiring interaction among people while operating moving vehicles and by doing so, the culture of Eureka Springs shaped and evolved.
This welcome sign says it all - "recalling the elegance and pace of an earlier era."
By not installing one single stoplight anywhere here in Eureka, the founders and city planners years before us developed a pace of an earlier era that has always carried Eureka Springs into each new decade.
Even today. Whether you're driving your car downtown and watching for pedestrians or if you're walking and using the crosswalks to ensure the cars see you. It is the culture here. It is the pace.
This elegance and pace does require us to always persevere and move forward and to stop if it is absolutely necessary to do so. Otherwise, go. We go. Just go. Go forward. Onward.
We are future thinkers thinkers here and the future is forward.
A future thinker is an agent of change. Their work is the good work with the intention to move an objective forward. The goal is to produce quality outcomes with sustainability for the group/organization. A future thinker can be anyone that has the open mind to vision beyond the task that is in front of them.
Eureka Springs is all about future thinking and allowing. It is about having a deliberate intent for whatever you want in life, while at the same time balancing your energy along the way as you proceed forward keeping your mind open with little/no resistance. Eurekans find a way to welcome. To receive. To make memories and to look ahead to make more tomorrow. By preserving our past and the memories that came before us here, we maintain the unique charm that is Eureka and it allows us to tell and retell the many stories about this place.
I'm so very grateful to live in a place with such a rich history and an illustrious past longing to be preserved juxtaposed alongside a passion to go forward, move ahead, create, innovate and evolve into the future.