For Day 27 of World Watercolor Month and our optional prompt of “Detour,” I sketched a little panda worried about where to head next. During the summer months where I live, the road construction is a constant issue. It’s like each day is waking up and getting into a car only to discover you’ve actually entered an escape room. Trying to navigate the same path that I took yesterday is no longer an option and I’m suddenly rerouted down completely different roads. In many cases, the construction seems like an abandoned project, and I’ve never even seen humans working there. In other cases, there’s lots of activity, but surprisingly little progress. I’ve taken to using Google Maps quite often in order to find my way to locations I’ve visited frequently. And even then, surprise construction foils my plans and I’m rerouted to parts unknown. It’s frustrating, yet, also sort of like going on an adventure. I’ve seen neighborhoods I’ve never seen before and traveled to areas I’d never thought to go. Though, yeah, I’m pretty much late to any appointment, but I’m sure those roads will be quite lovely if they ever manage to complete them.

One of the largest construction projects is the extension of our streetcar system. It currently only operates downtown and is being extended to cover more of the city. Once completed, there will actually be a stop just a couple blocks from our house, which will be a lovely thing indeed. Currently, it’s slated to be done by 2025, but that seems a touch ambitious considering the work that’s been done to date. It will eventually run down most of Main Street, but for now, the street is a total mess that most of the locals avoid entirely whenever possible. Kansas City was also officially named a FIFA World Cup 2026 host city, so I’m guessing they will have to figure out a way to finally finish things before that event arrives. I’m not the sporting type, so it’s not the sort of thing I personally enjoy, but it’s nice my little flyover city is starting to get a bit more recognition.

Though I don’t love all of the road work, I guess it’s a sign of progress. And when it comes to my own life, I have to admit that various parts of it are always in a state of construction. I’m still in the process of figuring out where I’d like to take my sketching habit next. I’ve had so much fun this month playing with various ideas and sometimes just playing is the best approach of all. I’m still learning and growing myself. And even doctors still call it a “practice,” which is comforting as a comparison, but less so when you actually hope to be cured by one. What we choose to practice in art changes as we go along. There’s always something new to try and that’s what makes the journey so exciting. If we knew exactly where we would end up, that would take away all of the fun! So, I’ve been enjoying the unpredictable path and making random choices as I go along, always seeking new ways to be creative and happily taking detours.

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Panda Bear Detour Looking Worried At Road Signs Watercolor Ilustration Sketchbook Detail

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19 thoughts on “Taking Detours

  1. Charlie here too they have been for five months tearing up our street and putting in new sewer and utilities for all the building going on. They are working this street and other and the little old “sweethearts” had lots to rant about for awhile although it is reported that they are being nice now (for some reason — maybe the nice new crossings and lights). One more month to go and terrific workers they are, making the community a better place. I don’t drive so I (and the rest of the world) are safe. My racewalkers (the ones with the shoes on) get me where I have to go. It must be terrible having to drive that way, yikes.

  2. I adore your Panda Charlie – they are one of my favourite little critters :). You could be talking about Edmonton Charlie – it is exactly the same in Edmonton. Decades ago they had a line from one end of downtown to the other. They did manage to take it to the University and then south to a mall that no longer exists. Their expansion to the west of the city has been making a mess everywhere for the last two years. The completion date was set for 2025, but is now 2026 and I’m not sure if they will be finished in my lifetime or not – lol. Meanwhile we have the same thing. Always an adventure to go anywhere and there are days I too wonder where I will eventually wind up. lolol A little more critical for you folks though since you are hosting a major sporting event in 2026. Well, the one thing all that does is to ensure that we are flexible 😉 It seems to be the first thing elders seem to lose, flexibility so dealing with that stuff is keeping us young and flexible 🙂 <3!! Lots of hugs and much love my friend.

  3. One of the reasons I like reviewing new products is not only do I get to review things I want to try out, I get to review things I wouldn’t have thought about trying, and that makes my creative muse wake up and get to work. That’s why if nobody is sending me something, I just buy something. It’s worth the price, above and beyond the value of the supplies themselves.

    Sparkling Heart
    • zoie
  4. Charlie, I know that this month is drawing to a close and I got sad thinking about it. You go away again. Yes, I know that you’re still around and I’m always happy to hear your lovely voice on the daily, but it’s like when a sweet friend is coming for a stay. You’re excited, chatting about it to others, and you just can’t wait. The stay is wonderful until it comes to an end and your sweet friend rides off into the sunset. And then your house is so quiet. I always miss you when we go back to your regular schedule. 😍
    I have had so much physical therapy over the past few years that my physical therapist has become a friend. His name is Jose and he is witty bordering on smart ass. 😂😂😂 He’s funny as hell! The first time (this is my 4th round of PT with him) that I finished PT, as I bid him farewell, I said something to him that says a lot about who he is. I said, “Jose, if I could go back in time and talk to God, I would’ve chosen you as my brother.” We both got emotional. I mention him because he is my PT again and, eventhough I was in horrible pain, I was happy to see him again. 💜 So, in relation to your “under construction” theme, as you know, I have been under construction or reconstruction for a long time. This last chapter was both shocking and heartbreaking. Jose told me once, “I’m running out of nuts and bolts to put you back together again.” 😂😂😂 I’m tired of being under construction, Charlie. I ask the same questions, “When is this project EVER going to end?” This has taken me down some dark, scary, can’t-see-the-end type of streets. And I cry. And I get scared. And I grasp desperately for God’s hand to hold on to. I know that He has promised me a fantastically beautiful life and future. I know that He has promised that I will arise from the ashes as the purest gold. I’ve been under construction for a LONG time, Charlie. And I’m tired.

    1. Hola, mi amiga! 😃💕 Yeah, it’s one month only now for my dailies. But I’ll be back each week! I think we’re all always under construction… I’m still trying to figure life in general out! And, I’ve no clue as to what exactly comes next. I know you’re path feels slow, but you’re definitely on a path to something wonderful to come! Keep the faith!! Much love to you! ❤️

  5. wonderful painting – and I relate to Panda’s confusion (along with other commenters) about “eternal” road construction! And appreciate your wise words about our own ongoing “internal construction” process as we create and live our lives. On another note: Very interesting that KC is putting in a streetcar system again. When my grandfather was a teenager, he worked as a streetcar conductor in KC for a few years during the original streetcar era.

  6. Hello Charlie,

    That panda looks kind of like I do these days – no, not cute – confused and bit scared. I too wish I could see just a glimpse of what my immediate future holds. And wow! Kansas City under construction with the Main Street ripped apart sounds exactly like Mumbai City with the main street in each suburb ripped apart. It’s true… every place is in essence the same!


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