Sunday, November 9, 2014

Death defying

Having written recently about the Franklin Avenue Bridge graffiti, in combination with being on foot rather than on bike when I cross that bridge, has made me even more keenly aware of the bridge area's graffiti. The art on the east bank, which I wrote about, is uncharacteristically a mess, and the really terrific piece is a large one on the west bank, with unusually soft (but strong) color work in leathers and rust, and flawless, distinctive letter work. It's a good sized piece just on the river road as it passes under the start of the bridge. But if you go up onto the bridge, and look north out over the waters of the Mississippi to the high looming Highway 94 bridge, there is something of a marvel: down below the giant road bed, at the top of two different 60 foot columns rising out of the depths of the river, are a set of two large, well executed letter pairs. I can't remember the letters just now. They must be four to six feet high. I say they are well executed, though they also look curiously incomplete, as if the artist will be back night after night until the message streams across the entire bridge, something I'm guessing would take anywhere from 50 to 100 letters. I hope it says something good!

I also wrote recently about setting up a naturalist's blind at work to track the mysterious movements of our scissors. I know, silly, yes. But here's one for you, and I mean it: I sure would like to see how those letter pairs were painted out on the sky of that bridge, hanging out way over the great and cold Mississippi river. Is it one person with astonishing, death defying wits and agility, or a little team with climbing gear, ropes, and no less moxie? A few nights hunkered down with night vision goggles in the scrub shrubs of the river bluffs could reveal fascinating wonders to me. I would dearly like to see it. Though, I confess, I would not like to see it quite so much as I would like to sleep in my warm and cozy bed, at home at night, instead.

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