I read a great book while in my twenties that has stuck with me through my life, it’s called Outside Lies Magic. It was written by a landscape professor at Harvard University The book speaks about the physical built world we live in and how, if you take a walk through your world and look at the details, buildings, paint, sidewalks, bridges, alleyways you will find magic. There is something integrating about what lies in the alleys and under bellies of our built world. On a recent trip through downtown Los Angeles on my way to a project and with the lingering thought of the book I came across some magic.
It was an evil and fantastic piece of graffiti art scrawled on the underside of an arched bridge. I initially whizzed past this gem, but the elongated angle caused me to lock up my breaks and throw my wagon in reverse to catch a better glimpse of the image. He now lives on my cell phone and in my image bank. The glasses, elongated gun are so fantastic. I wonder who did it, why? It’s like a gift left for all to see.
This past weekend I set out on my bike through the streets of Long Beach in search of more magic. I came across a front yard fence fabricated from red skateboard decks, mounted vertical as though they were a picket fence. The owner must own a skateboard factory or maybe they came across a dumpster of skateboard decks that were made wrong. Continuing along I came across a neon green home and a few blocks over a purple house with pink trim. I could only imagine who lives there. My favorite sighting was a child’s toy truck parallel parked next to the curb in front of a house – just as if little Johnny returned home from a hard day at preschool and parked his jeep out front and headed in for some Cheerios and a nap.
Outside lies magic. It just takes opening your eyes.