Hidden Treasures

When I went for a long walk recently, I didn’t expect to discover hidden treasures. I walked down to the High Point pond, just a few blocks from my house. My usual route takes me around the pond, where I check out who’s there.

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Pond, with Seattle skyline in the distance

This day there were mallards, American wigeon, a cormorant, and gulls.

But I wanted to extend my walk and explore some new areas. High Point is a huge redeveloped area, with a variety of homes and landscapes. It’s a planned community, with mixed housing for single families, low-income families, and seniors.

There are rain gardens, permeable sidewalks, community gardens and green spaces. The planners did a good job of saving many monstrous mature trees, and a few are labeled. Today I noted a Lawson cypress, which I first thought was a Western cedar, along with a grand specimen of big-leaf maple, called “Papa.”

Along the way, I found these delightful pillars celebrating the Longfellow Creek watershed.

pillars1They are composed of blocks of concrete with carved and inlaid creatures representing plants, lizards, fish, birds, a fox and a dragonfly.

lizards img_20170216_103627070I love that nature is appreciated here. There are many immigrant families and children living in this community. I think it’s important to instill knowledge and appreciation of our local natural history. Nearby is also a bee garden, complete with a small building enclosing the hive and a flower and vegetable garden to nourish them.

As I turned down a street that I’d never walked or driven before, I discovered an intriguing sight: something out of a Greek ruin, or perhaps a group of standing stones from the British Isles.

img_20170216_104232494-copyA structure, similar to a pergola, but I’m not sure exactly what to call it, stands in front of a hillside that has large stones scattered about.

stones6-copyThe structure is supported by posts with carved wood that portrays such birds as owls and herons.

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And, even more fabulous, the concrete walk between the structure and the hillside is incised with a large winged creature reminiscent of the mysterious Nazca “geoglyphs” of Peru!

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Head detail
Head detail

 

 

 

 

These things inspire ideas for my own yard!

 

Playful Art that Beckons You into the Desert

raptorThey’re scattered in the desert sand, a ways back from the road. Mostly, you’d never even notice them as you drive by. Woolly mammoths, sabertooth tigers, a serpent, dinosaurs, and a grasshopper and scorpion so large they must have escaped from a 1950s horror film.

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In the Anza-Borrego Desert in southern California, you will find some 140 wild and fascinating creatures. But fear not, they are cast in metal and welcome you to approach. These fantastic larger-than-life sculptures are the creation of Ricardo Breceda. The story goes that he first made a dinosaur for his daughter. Afterward, he met up with the owner of Galleta Meadows Estates in Borrego Springs, Dennis Avery. Avery had had the idea of using hsignis land as an art gallery, so the two seemed destined to meet.

Visitors are welcomed to tour the Galleta Meadows Sky Art project and see the sculptures up close. Sculptures may not be the best way to describe them; statues or installations is probably more accurate.

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There are no fences around the artworks. You can touch them and walk all around. They are impressive. Each has unique textures and designs to the metal covering.

two dinostwo dinos2

claw feetInstallations include real and imaginary creatures, in addition to a few human figures, a cactus and a Jeep that’s attempting to scale some rocks.

It boggles the mind to think of the inspiration and labor that went into each.

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The road bisects a mythical serpent

Each stands silent and frozen in time. Though some seem to be crying out, perhaps their last gasp as their species died out. Others stare you down with cold, dark eyes that say, “You walk the earth now, but we too once roamed it, and now we are gone.”

dino crymammoth1Wild horses, camels and tortoises remind us that they are imperiled; their homes under constant threat of development.

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So, what is the point of the Sky Art project?

I think it goes beyond simple public art. Visitors can experience a variety of emotions.

For me, there were connections to the ancient earth and extinct creatures. The stark desert landscape seems a fitting site for them, silent and seemingly otherwise endlessly empty.

tortoises

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