What catches my eye every time, though, is the verse written below the painting:
"America! With Peace and Freedom blest/Pant for true Fame and scorn inglorious rest./Science invites, urged by the Voice divine,/Exert thyself 'til every Art be thine."The irony is that whenever I'm looking at the mural, I'm standing in line. I epitomize inglorious rest. And I find myself feeling a little annoyed at the whole idea of rest being inglorious anyway, given how my undergraduates treat busy-ness as a status symbol, and how that mindset often ends up sabotaging them.
In fact, when I'm looking at that mural, I often realize that I have been completely immersed in the moment, completely present. Here I am standing in line, I think. Sometimes I consider what I'm going to do at work that day, or what's on deck at home. But most times, I'm really just thinking about standing in line. And waiting for the line to move, but also just knowing that there's nothing I can do to make the line move any faster, so I might as well just be there. I'm not playing with my phone, because that would involve holding the phone, and usually, when I'm standing in that line, I'm holding some sort of package that requires two hands.
The post office is going to move to a new location soon. I'm not sure what they'll do with the mural, but I know that the queue just won't be the same.
Is there art--even annoying art--in your life where you stand still?