Yesterday I was up at 8:30 AM, and I knew I was going to be able to walk. I took a bus to Balboa Park and walked between the Zoo and the Prado, then past the lily pond (Do Not Feed the Fish or Birds!). I enjoyed quiche and baby spring greens in the chilly atrium restaurant that is part of the sculpture garden. A bronze sculpture puzzled me. It was flattish, a rough square on end with ugly extensions. Once I read its little sign, I could kind of make out "Two Seated People." There's a new (to me) Nogare, resembling a seven foot polished black granite chisel head, very stern and deceptively simple in line. The tall black wood construction by Nevelson is gone. I walked around the grassy outdoor area, sat on a bench in the sun near Henry Moore's "Reclining Figure: Arch Leg." I couple came by. The young woman related the tale of the sculpture in much the way I have to others. (A eucalyptus fell over, its roots shifted the ground and broke the base of the sculpture. Several tons of bronze Arch Leg fell over.) That's how it was the first time I saw it..I think. When I first came to San Diego, I was profoundly moved and relieved to find that sculpture garden. I used to visit the sculpture garden at MOMA frequently. Apparently I need Rodin and Maillol and Calder and Renoir and Rembrandt to feel I'm home. (The Timken has a wonderful Rembrandt of St. Bartolomeo.) I also need Matisse and Cezanne and Van Gogh.
The Moore stayed broken for years. Eventually they built a cyclone fence around it to keep people from climbing on it and risking getting hurt if the ground shifted further. It must have cost a gazillion dollars to shift the sculpture back in place, after stabilizing the ground underneath. (You can see it on Flickr.com, arrow9studio, or the San Diego Museum of Art site.)
The young lady telling about it had the same attitude I did, ownership about this piece of local history. I suppose thousands of people feel similar investment in the Case of the Fallen Moore and its eventual restoration. No fence around it now.
The sun felt good, benign. I felt quiet, even though we could hear shouting and cheering and drumming from a big rally for Ron Paul in the amphitheater. As I limped up the Prado towards the fountain and the bus stop, I saw an amazing number of costumed entertainers, musicians, mimes, and fortune tellers. As usual, there were lots of small children running around the fountain, which was turned up to an exuberant imitation of the geyser, Old Faithful.
My muscles hurt, but I was and am very grateful that I could take that walk in the sun.