I recently returned to my hometown of Boise, Idaho. My cousin and aunt were visiting from Houston and St. Louis respectively. Both enjoy great architecture and history, so we took them to the old section of Boise near downtown. We admired the architecture inside and outside of St. John’s Cathedral, the Capitol Building, The Egyptian Theatre, and Bar Gernika, in the Basque Block.
I grew up regularly going into and driving past those buildings. I’d taken a school field trip to the Capitol Building and later made deliveries there for the law firm for which I worked. We went to many a movie at the Egyptian. It was my favorite theater in town! And I’ll never forget the beauty and wonder of Midnight Mass at St. John’s, the choir’s hymns rising to the painted ceiling. But it’s been years since I walked into any of those sites, and you forget.
You forget to notice the magnificence of the art you pass every day. The stained glass windows in a local church, the wall paintings in a 1920s movie palace, the wood carvings on the walls of an old bar. We revere these places because some architect took pains to design a building that would bring pleasure to our eyes and ears as well as provide a roof over our heads.
All around you, on every street corner and down every alley, is the evidence of some artist at work. A decorative iron fence, a statue in a courtyard, a carved window box, a song drifting through an open back door. Like the sky above and the flowers that grow, they create a landscape that lifts the spirits.
Next time you go on a walk through your same old neighborhood, take your ear buds out, lift your gaze from your phone, quiet your scattered thoughts, and just notice the art that surrounds you. You may be surprised by what you see and hear.
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