I was an old man walking on the beach lost in thought. I try to make myself have one big thought a day. It’s not easy. Little thoughts get in the way. “Why do my knees hurt so much?” “Whose hips do I have now?” “What the heck happened to my ankles?” “Why’s the sand so uneven? So soft. So rocky.” “Oh no, where did that rogue wave come from?” I march on in search of the big thought of the day. Left. Squish. Right. Squish. “####, I’ll have to buy new tennis shoes.”
So, it’s no surprise with my head down concentrating on old person footing that I missed the new mural below the Cliff Restaurant. An Indy article, “Art Ninjas Add Local Color by Stealth” (Feb. 2 edition), alerted me to my big thought of the day. Look up not down or the world will pass you by. Whoa, that’s a huge thought. I’d say big enough for a week’s worth of reflections. It will be a relief to drive to town and give my joints a rest.
So a week later, I looked up and saw the new mural titled “Main Beach Mandala.” For other old people preoccupied with their footing the new painting is two half spheres covered with sky blue and white triangles painted on a once graffiti covered cement retaining wall. To me it reminded me of high school geometry class where my teacher told me that I didn’t have the angles figured out. It was the first of many times when adults told me that I wouldn’t be a rocket scientist. But, U.S. president, a shoe-in.
The artist says the mural is meant to evoke dream catchers, a Native American construct. Legend has it, that dream catchers originated with the Ojibwe Indians. It represents Spider Woman’s web that takes care of the children and people of the land. So I ask, “If this is true, why did I get hit by a rogue wave right under it?” I recognize that I’m not a child. But I’m a person. Where was my protection a week ago? It’s going to prove to be a bad dream catcher for me when my wife finds out that I’ve wrecked another pair of sneakers.
But my nightmare is nothing compared to the artist’s. He painted the mural without permission. Oh my, he’s caught in his own web. The owner and the city are miffed. They would have been happier if he had asked permission beforehand. But thanks to the Spider Woman legend all may be forgiven. The artist has submitted after the fact for a city permit that likely will be granted because the owner likes his work.
I’m glad that all’s well that ends well. The artist can dream on. And I’ve learned to keep my head up, if only to be on the lookout for this artist ninja. Rumor has it, he’s moving on to face painting by stealth of night. Sleep lightly, Lagunans.
Crantz tells the Indy he worries about being painted a clown. He’s afraid of clowns. Who isn’t?