This location, a pair of benches, came to my mind as a good place to set a sunshine and I don’t know why. So I’ll just tell its story.
Located on Valley Road, a busy street, the benches are set to the side of a retirement community and are right up on the road, unprotected from the sun, wind, rain, any kind of weather. Cars zoom by just a few feet away and there are a lot of them, streams of them. Road construction is also underway at the moment, right in front of the seats.
These two benches have to be a couple of the most unappealing places to sit, ever. Yet I know, from passing them almost every day, that they are rarely unoccupied. I see people out there in all kinds of weather, people chatting, people smoking, people just sitting. I think that most of these bench-users are staff from the retirement home on break, but I’ve seen others there as well who don’t fit that profile.
I’ve wondered what it would be like, to sit there on one of these benches. So I tried it today. I found that they are constructed of concrete rather than the plastic I had thought; that the cars passing by are hypnotizing in their regularity; that even though today is quite blustery, it was comfortable in the sun; and that if you are sitting on a bench here, you are facing out into the world, observing it, but not being drawn in to it. In other words, it’s a nice place to sit and rest.
Obviously the site is popular even in the winter – I hadn’t been there more than a couple of minutes when a man walked up, simultaneously smoking and talking on the phone. He stood next to the other bench and totally ignored me and my camera and my sunshine. I think that was a good thing – he had his space and I had mine, and that’s what we wanted from the benches.
If you want to know more about the Sunshine Project, look here.