Stitching Time, Weaving Cultures — a mural

What would you do with a wall in the living room of a town?

(Editor’s Note: Viewpoint submissions on this and other topics are always welcome as part of our goal to encourage community discussion and exchange of perspectives.)

For Angie, Joel and the city of Florence...

What would you do with a wall

in the living room of a town,

where your people pass

through the cross roads of the


Paint it with public art, perhaps,

a mural, which is another name

for a wall when it becomes

a window, a frame to see

life through, a view of who

you are. A gift. A way to say ‘we.’

Though winds swept along

the walls and tried to throw

the paints in other directions

and then gave into the colors,

the natural fabric of flowers

these walls welcome you into

reweaving season and shore,

stitching a quilt of days with


This mural is a bridge into history

as it happened and happens:

An elk and a bicyclist

on a bridge who might meet

in the bear grass weave

of flowers the Siuslaw

women have woven

from the hems of the marshlands.

and that bicyclist’s twin on the

south wall

tilted into the west where the sun

set hangs

its moons and the wind spills

across the chevron shape

of valleys and divides

watersheds and waves,

the lowland lakes breathing the

sea, he’s happy.

“Life,” he thinks, “It’s a gift.”

This a wall to see with, to drive

by and grasp. A gift

from the people

of Florence to the people

of Florence

and to drivers, bikers, walkers,

gulls, whoeverpasses by

may see a patterned web

of place, its embodiments—

history and imagination fused,

an earthy commonwealth...

Tim Barnes taught in the English Department at PCC Sylvania for 25 years, where he was the chair of the creative writing department and advisor on Alchemy, the campus literary magazine.


More In Opinion