Saturday, April 18, 2015

Guerilla Art

They met early, before the sun was up, to load up the tools. Text messages had been sent the night before identifying the site. Agents converged at the agreed upon time and went to work.

Nobody knew nothin and wouldn't recognize nobody if asked.

Hammer drills whined as masonry dust spilled from the holes. Concrete screws held the panels in place after the glue had been slathered on the back.

Intricate tiles, each hand-made, custom, hundreds of them, spelled out the words of a poem. Wavy crescents of sky mingled with desert life in a dance of color, shape, and undulating form. Gila monsters, Mexican bats, barrel cacti, prickly pears, and words all flowed together, the tiles an ode to this place, this desert, the shared moment of harmony.

A small and unassuming, smiling god found his spot in the center of things.

Panel by panel the mosaic found its way to the wall. The crew looked official behind a tape strung along barricades. Nothing more than a crew sent out by the authorities to beautify the bike path said the tape, the official looking vests, the men and women bent to their labors.

Months, maybe years, in the making, the tiles spelled out a message of hope in dark, impossible times. The mosaic honors bats, Mexican bats that live by the thousands under the bridge nearby.

The bats are something of a marvel, a colony of wild things in the middle of a city. They consume mosquitoes and other insects. I love to see them hunting in the evening as we eat outside. They are welcome helpers.

As the work wound down on the mosaic the sun began to set. Just as the last bit of grout closed the border, forty thousand bats began their fly-out, on cue, a small wonder, a miracle. A flying river of tiny creatures wound its way up and out toward the setting sun. We people watched, spellbound.

People of patience, skill, vision and love gave birth to a spectacular expression of creativity, generosity, anonymity.

The art could be in a museum, but it is there on a humble wall, along a bike trail, for all to see if they look.

No one will direct you the the site because no one will claim to know it is there or who might have installed such a thing.

It is like a flower that blooms out of a crack in a sidewalk, there for those with eyes to see.

The artists moved on, anonymous, while a story trailed behind them, ready to grow from a secret sprout to a mighty tree.

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