May 30, 2010

Posted in Uncategorized at 10:53 pm by Iain

So there’s this bench at my favorite park in Cedar Falls. It’s a nice bench,  made of that cheap, blue, cross-hatched plastic you see on most other benches. It sits on a prominence on the park’s eponymous Big Woods Lake. The view’s great.

Picture forthcoming!

My favorite thing about this bench is the fact that it isn’t just anyone’s bench, it’s Marv Diemer’s bench. Yet it’s not one of those morbid benches created specifically so that someone can sit upon the loving memory of Phyllis G. Winthorpe or Hamilton (Hammy) J. Flint. Rather, Marv Diemer was the thoughtful  (and decidedly living) guy that decided to christen this bench with both name and poem. It reads:

Sit and rest for a moment. / Look at the sky, the grass, / the shape of the tree limbs, / the water in the lake / Feel the solid earth beneath / your feet.

For those that are not poetry inclined, let me summarize (those who are, skip to the next paragraph). So basically, Marv’s bench is a little bit pushy. It invites you to sit down upon it, only to further dictate to you how to correctly experience the surrounding sky, vegetation, water, and earth. When was the last time some bench invited you to sample its comfy bauxite exterior? When was the last time a bench highlighted the rigidly policed avenues through which our society feels are the proper ways to “experience nature?” Probably never. And if that’s the case, you should probably go sit on Marv Diemer’s bench right now.

The poem is great and all, but y’know, I can never help but feel as if Marv left something out. As if those banal park bench bureaucrats forced Marv to remove a sentence or two before granting him his bench. Callously holding his bench ransom, until Marv had to acquiesce and sully his otherwise pristine creative genius. Something like:

And yeah maybe ignore that highway too, / behind you. / It kind of ruins the moment.

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