This morning I sat on a bench with my organic cup of joe, but this was no typical bench, for it looked as though it belonged in a museum rather than on the sidewalk in Bird Rock. A petite woman with dreamy eyes soon joined me.
“Isn’t this the most beautiful bench you’ve ever seen?” I said, running my fingers over the shiny mosaic surface, reading a message woven through the grout: “Do all you can to live at peace with everyone.”
The woman smiled and said, “It has levels, like [the game] I- spy: every time you walk by, you notice something different.”
The bench was dedicated to a man named Joe Parker, a local music lover who often dressed as Mozart while teaching music to kids. Parker’s favorite composers and songs were represented there in glass, stone, and ceramic tile around the bench’s edges.
I soon learned the woman speaking to me was artist Jane Wheeler, the bench’s creator. The community-member-sponsored benches are part of a “Beautify Bird Rock” program. A new bench will be dedicated in December.