Lost in “The Bean” – Empty Nest by Curt Swarm


Blossom is not pregnant. The vet called with the results of the blood test. “Open,” he reported. Until recently, I didn’t even know what the term, “open” meant. So much for our beef raising days. Blossom is going to be ribeyes and hamburger. Ginnie is upset, Blossom having become a pet. But the way of the farm is not always the way of the heart. When Ginnie gets a taste of that hand raised beef, she may change her mind. We’ll see.
I’m hiring a farmer friend to haul Blossom to the locker plant. I will ride along to say the last goodbyes to Blossom. Don’t ever, ever name an animal you are going to raise for butchering.

To assuage our guilt, Ginnie and I motored to Chicago for Easter to visit her son and his wife. Chicago is a great city to visit. While there we toured the Field Museum of Natural History and, amongst other exhibits, viewed world famous “Sue,” the most complete T-Rex ever found. We also took a boat trip on the Chicago River to see the buildings and architecture of the Windy City. By the way, Chicago was not named the “Windy City” because of wind. It was because of all the hot air spewed out by politicians. And, of course, there was the food, specifically, Chicago’s famed deep-dish pizza—one piece and you’re full, a second slice and you hurt, a third hunk and you consider suicide, or the lie you’re going to tell your weight-watcher pals.
For me, the highlight of Chicago sight seeing was Cloud Gate, better known as “The Bean,” at Millennium Park in the AT&T Plaza. Designed by Indian-born British artist, Sir Anish Kapoor, The Bean weighs 110 short tons (whatever that means) and cost $23 million to build, all from private donations. Getting a wipe down twice a day, The Bean is designed to last 1,000 years. Being somewhat of a metal sculptor, I was amazed at its seamless, stainless steel design, and marveled at the reflectivity from its continuously curved surfaces. Even time seemed warped while in its presence. It is said that Kapoor took his inspiration from a blob of mercury, and that is what The Bean resembles. Walking into the omphalos or “navel” of the sculpture is like entering The Twilight Zone, or a dark hole which goes into infinity. The lyrics, “Time keeps on slippn’ into the future,” by the Steve Miller Band, kept tripping through my head. The Bean is considered among the greatest pieces of art in the world, and here it is just a few hours from home in what used to be a cattle town. One art critic said that The Bean represents the tension between masculine and feminine. That’s a bit whacked out for me. The bean is just plain awesome.
On our next trip to Chitown, I want to visit Picasso’s “Bull” in Daley Plaza on the Loop. It is 50′ tall and weighs 162 short tons. The sculpture was never named by Picasso, nor did he accept payment for it. Speculation on what it is range from a bull, to a baboon, to Picasso’s wife, or his Afghan Dog. The sculpture was very controversial at the time it was dedicated in 1967, but has grown to be quite famous and loved. It has appeared in several movies, including, “The Blues Brothers,” “The Fugitive,” and “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.”
Driving home, Ginnie and I stopped at Wildcat Den State Park, along side the Mississippi River, in Muscatine County. Standing on the Pine Mill Bridge, observing the Old Grist Mill and spillway, we watched a young fisherman catch a nice, pan size, small mouth bass, then release it—the fish’s silvery body reflecting God’s natural beauty.

Have a good story? Call or text Curt Swarm in Mt. Pleasant at 319-217-0526, email him at curtswarm@yahoo.com or visit his website at www.empty-nest-words-photos-and-frames.com.

About Chuck Vandenberg 5617 Articles
Pen City Current and pencitycurrent.com are products of Market Street Publishing, LLC, a multi-platform media company delivering hyper-local news, sports and advertising information to Fort Madison, IA and surrounding communities.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply