Tuesday, August 3, 2010

El Tigre

The tiger on White Street is a landmark. It growls at traffic passing in front of Glynn Archer School.William Blake had it right:
Tiger, tiger, burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand dare seize the fire?
I first really noticed the tiger when I got a call at work and the agitated Spanish speaker told me she was at the tiger. The tiger? Oh the tiger. Got it. What you see below would be a Labrador.Across the street from the school is the National Weather Service office. This is where they track weather and hurricanes and log statistics.They're following Tropical Depression Four shortly to become Colin before it ravages Charleston or Miami or somewhere other than here (we hope). You can walk by at night and look through the windows from the sidewalk and see huge computer screens swirling and brightly colored.I thought the bird might be a sparrow. Or possibly not. It distracted me from the object of my picture, Glynn Archer School.
The dog statue in front the building is by a local artist called Rick Worth. He is a rather cool counter culture artist of the old school and calls himself a community artist. The dog faces off against the tiger across the street which has been snarling in that spot since 1986. Artist George Carey I am told oversaw the welding of the tiger at Key West High School and it was put in place as the mascot of Glynn Archer School.
There is another statue backing up the National Weather Service dog, a left over from a Sculpture Key West exhibition according to the label:This Harley is parked across the street often enough that it looks like a rather fine statue in it's own right.You wouldn't think this commercial street would have so much public art on offer.
This sort of sign makes me wonder if there is a drug filled zone somewhere nearby. I have never thought lawmakers were the best judges of unintended consequences. Keeping schools drug free seems fairly basic to me, but...there's the sign if there were any doubt. This is not a rooster free zone, however.
Someone had lost a barrette and though it was pink and would have matched my crocs, I refrained from stealing it. I set a good example for the little dears. Did I mention this isn't a chicken free zone?
Up close this is in fact a welded tiger. That it is getting on for thirty years old I find it more remarkable then ever.Across the street is this delightfully old fashioned sign. I didn't know that TVs could be repaired anymore. Use and toss seems to be the way these days. I include this picture to wig out the "all the gear all the time" witterers. The obligatory Labrador resting in the heat picture. It was a hot afternoon on White Street.
It must be vexing to spend all day staring at the Dairy Queen and never be able to step off the pedestal.I prefer to pay for my newspaper. I think it's more dignified.
A con leche while waiting for your laundry is a fine way to spend a Key West afternoon.
There has been noise about the city commission moving city hall to Glynn Archer which doesn't seem a like a totally bad idea. I just wonder what would happen to the tiger if that ever did happen.
PS. I originally prepared this essay before I left town on my 8,200 mile road trip to California. This past Sunday, by strange coincidence, Solares Hill carried a story on George Carey, who moved away decades ago, mentioning he is "gravely ill with cancer," but as the paper notes we will have his fine public art around town to enjoy.