It Rains in Southern California

This isn’t what I planned to post today, but I’ve been led to believe such a piece won’t be timely very often…

It Rains in Southern California

The rain in southern California
made the news last night.

Weather forecasters
and anchors alike
offered detailed analysis
of the storm’s projected path
as well as helpful hints
and earnest exhortations to drivers
to respect this show
of nature’s force.

The man-on-the-street
from Michigan
mocked the locals
for their seemingly disproportionate fear
of inclement weather.

They, in turn, derided him
for bundling up
against a sub-seventy-degree
chill—
the entire exchange
serving to prove
in pithy, sound-bite fashion,
that while climate may change
human nature
does not.

© 2011
Alexis Spencer-Byers

Watts Towers

I stumbled upon the Watts Towers several years ago, and it was love at first sight. This amazing large-scale work of art is a perfect illustration of the profound truth that there is great beauty to be found in things (not to mention people and places) that have been discarded or written off by a society that likes the shiny, the new and the whole.

My hope for my own art—and for my life, for that matter—is that I will develop the kind of eye for potential that Mr. Rodia exhibited. If I can recognize, embrace and celebrate unexpected beauty—and reflect back just a fraction of what I find—I will have done well, I think.

Though it feels presumptuous to attempt to describe something I admire and appreciate so much, I had to try…

The Towers of Simon Rodia

silver spires rise
stretching toward heaven
as though striving
to brush the cheek
of God

unwieldy scraps
of abandoned metal
have been coaxed into shape
fashioned together with utmost care
and precision
secured with mesh and wire
then cemented into one coherent
and breathtakingly lovely
whole

fragments of tile and glass,
dishware and seashells—
detritus of earth and ocean—
salvaged
polished
and situated just so
absorb the rays of the sun
soften the light
and reflect it back
in a glowing declaration
that one person’s trash—
indeed, an entire society’s refuse—
may, in the right hands,
become
another’s treasure

© 2011
Alexis Spencer-Byers