Holey Cow, Batman!
A Favorite Haunt for eBay Sellers
Across the Street
My smartphone was acting stupid in the Goodwill Store in downtown Walla Walla.
So what's an eBay seller to do when he needs to do some quick research and his allegedly high tech gadget is operating at a new low?
That's right! Step out of the store!
Standing on the wide concrete sidewalk about fifteen feet away from the store entrance, I typed in the key words, glass dolphin figurine, and tapped the SEARCH tab. This iPhone 4 had been a birthday gift from my wife and son, a veritable godsend in an eBay seller's world where instant access to information about what prices a particular item might be listed for was vital in determining whether or not I would purchase it.
The circular item at the top left of my phone's screen kept spinning and spinning, a clear indication that I wasn't anywhere near a WiFi signal.
Across the street was the Walla Walla Public Library, a place I hadn't frequented in years because Walla Walla wanted to charge out of town residents $135 for an annual library card. Imagine that! I lived a mere four miles away in College Place, and yet I'd have to shell out beaucoup money better invested in my eBay business just to borrow a few books every now and then. No, it went against every frugal (read: cheapskate) bone in my body. I had opted instead to join the Walla Walla County Library System for a less expensive $40 annual membership. The year before, I'd even gone out of state to get a $35 library card at the beautiful public library in Milton-Freewater OR.
(I recently went to the Walla Walla Public Library to get some IRS tax documents, and I learned at the time that the annual membership fee for out of city residents had been reduced to $68. Since most of the books about eBay have to be gleaned from distant libraries, and since the Walla Walla Public Library, unlike other library systems, actually charges $3 per interlibrary loan, I decided to not join this library. I'm leaning heavily towards renewing my out of state library card this summer at the Milton-Freewater Public Library.)
One of the nice (and free) things about the library across the street, however, is the placement of a comfortable park bench on the walkway just in front of the steps leading to the building.
I decided to rest there for a few minutes so I could hitch a ride on the library's WiFi service. Sure enough, it was just a matter of seconds before the information I'd searched for was rapidly appearing on the iPhone screen.
Happy with the information I was gleaning, I was now prepared to purchase the item I had been mulling over in the thrift store.
But first, I just wanted to relax for a few minutes and get in sync with the slow and easy early morning rhythm of the town.
I yawned and stretched, and in doing so, I happened to glance over my shoulder.
And that's when I saw her...this fine female specimen in all her glory.
Breathtaking bovine beauty and moo-less, milk-less, and massively muscled maven...Matilde!
Matilde--Her Various Components
The Sculpture and the Sculptor
An aspiring writer on HubPages is wise to take full advantage of opportunities that seemingly pop up out of nowhere.
Not that this unusual spectacle is something easily missed, but the library is located at the curved end of an unusual street that clearly doesn't run east and west and looks like it was thrown in and re-routed at the last minute by the city forefathers. So you pretty much have to be right at the entrance before you see the magnificent statue.
And, let me tell you, if Mathilde is anything, she is definitely magnificent!
The life-sized bronze statue was created by Master Sculptor, Nano Lopez, an unassuming middle-aged man who could easily be mistaken for a perennial hippie or a struggling homeless person. The balding, long-haired man with the bushy beard grew up in Bogota, Colombia, and was greatly influenced by his father's love of nature and his grandmother's appreciation for texture.
In his bronze creations, Lopez utilizes a compelling mix of organic textures with synthetic elements and machinery, as if to make a statement that the aesthetic essence of life incorporates both that which is living and that which is man-made. For example, in his clay reproductions prior to the final bronze casting, he might take a huge gear and roll the edges of that tool along the flank of an elephant. He might take a bottle, a handful of screws,a lizard figurine, and some leaves and create an ornate montage with these unrelated items...the point being that everything we see in our environment constitutes art.
Nano Lopez's animal figurines are appropriately nicknamed Nanimals. The master sculptor evokes the phenomenon of seeing the world all over again through the eyes of a child. When one observes children at play, their imagination exudes a boundless sense of magic, wonder, and creativity. Nano Lopez captures that innocent essence in his creations by presenting art that forms a seamless interplay between nature, unbridled imagination, science, folklore, monolithic vision, and contemporary mechanical gadgetry. In a quiet yet surprisingly powerful way, he presents an in your face statement to each and every art aficionado--Look, this wondrous mix is exactly what life is all about!
How fitting, then, that one of his majestic creations should grace the entrance to a public library.
And the Coolest Thing of All...
As I diligently researched anything I could find about Nano Lopez and, in particular, the Matilde statue, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that this internationally-acclaimed master sculptor is a resident of the Walla Walla Valley. After studying and honing his bronze foundry skills in the Pacific Northwest, he opened his own business in Walla Walla in 1987. About fifteen years later, he designed, built, and moved into a massive 8,000 square-foot building with tremendously tall ceilings complete with skylights.
In 2003, one of Nano Lopez's greatest creations and the bovine pride and joy of local residents, Matilde, established her permanent residence at 238 East Alder Street, a mere stone's throw from the Goodwill Store. She was a huge milestone in the city's resurgence in the appreciation and promotion of fine arts.
For at least one eBay seller and aspiring writer, Matilde--true to the intentions of her brilliant master sculptor--is an inspirational reminder of how blessed we are to live at a point in mankind's history when the designs of the Universal Creator mingle in artistic tableau with the creations of mere mortals.
Where Matilde Presently Resides in Walla Walla, Washington
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