Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Our Lady

Where the hill crests on Vista del Mar, here in Beachwood Canyon, there once was a small grotto embedded in a stone wall right at the corner of the block. Inside stood a statue of the Guadalupe, or Mary. At night, driving past, she was lit up with votives at her feet. Little spaces like this one, more than any great work of art, are always the most pleasing to me. Small personal places that are set on a visible edge of private property, to share. No sight of this fifty-year-old alcove failed to elicit a smile.

Unfortunately, about two years ago, a moving truck took out the entire section of wall where the sculpture hung. I recall a posting in our little canyon newspaper trying to collect funds to rebuild it, but nothing has changed the jagged hole where the tribute once hung.



Today as I walked past the spot with my dog, I was thinking about what spaces, public art, historical bldgs., community gardens, parks, even old drive-in ice cream stops are worth saving. The erasure of histories is noisome to me. When the Arrow Club, one of the few Deco buildings in Portland, came down for a swank yet ungainly hotel several years ago, I felt it like the sorrow of food poisoning in my gut.

Maybe it is because I know how painstaking the work of those craftspeople was, and how work like that is almost never affordable in our modern economy. Maybe it's the human energy, the soul's imprint on those spaces - all the builders, employees, patrons, even the interlopers, who passed through there, died there, made love in the back hallways. Maybe it's simply my love of the beautiful. Maybe it's an aversion to change.

Still, life is growing and passing away, transformation and adaptation, and that is beautiful too. I guess I just prefer to hold onto what was good about the old, while embracing the new.

I hope that hole in the wall grows back. Guadalupe's feast day is 12/12, by the way.

8 comments:

unremitting mike said...

I think it's a mistake to embrace change. Change should be shunned like a naughty Amishman. But I see your point. Like natural disasters, change is going to happen whether we want it to or not. Damn it.

steve said...

Coming soon... a Tree Museum!
Here in DFW they are even movin' graveyards to widen the freeways.
And at the Gas Station you have to buy air, if they have it.
They got no respect.

Grant Miller said...

All we are is dust in the muthfuckin' wind.

Anonymous said...

I think that its the defilement of intent that grates most in matters like this. Someone crafted that work with the specific intent to display something beautiful, or at least something pleasant. When such things are lost to the decay inherent in our world, the human desire to mitigate this condition overwhelms, sometimes, and I believe we are often most offended by what we perceive as an affront to aesthetic intent, more than its actual and tangible manifestation.

And I cannot seem to log into blogger anymore, so for you know, it is of course your friendly neighborhood Huckleberry.

The Frito Pundito said...

If you pray to the Virgin, she will provide. Then you could have your own private milagra

Anonymous said...

LA is paved with dead artists.
Escape while you can still think.

kissyface said...

Unremitting - "Naughty Amishman" is a phrase most pleasing to my ear. Well, both ears.

Steve - "They took all the trees and put 'em in a tree museum. And they charged all the people a dollar and a half just to see them. Don't it always seem to go, that you don't know what you've got till it's gone. They paved paradise, put up a parking lot." I love Joni Mitchell, too.

Grant - and my mother's family is from Kansas.

Huck - yes, yes, yes. and to replace the beautiful with the banal... it stands outside of reason.

Frito - for some reason, i read that last word as "viagra, " which for some is a milagro of sorts.

Peteski - i fear i might belong to their group already. my studio is long neglected. but there is lots of real talent here, too, so there is hope.

kissyface said...

just to clarify, Peteski, in case you ever check back, when i said there was "lots of real talent here," i meant LA, not myself. inadvertent bombast. sheesh.