The Painted Garden

Around University Heights and adjacent San Diego neighborhoods, I see more murals like this one: Painted on personal property, not necessarily a business. They add magnificent charm and character—and individualized flare that pops compared to nearby houses.

I feel for the homeowners, who deserve to stake out some semblance of freedom and peace. The mural faces the forever commercial construction site across the alley separating Georgia Street and Park Blvd at Monroe. In June 2015, a house sitting on that corner at Park sold for $525,000. The worksite has existed for so long that I can’t recall dates when. But using Google Maps Street View snapshots over time, I see that demolition and early construction commenced no later than June 2016—for a lumbering, three-and-a-half story mixed-use business and residential building far from finished.

The current residents across that alley haven’t endured six years of banging, drilling, and jackhammering. They purchased in June 2020—and I gotta ask: What’s up with that month and all these important transitions on that block? The new owners have since made improvements that make the place homey—and much more than the mural, which professes freedom and sunlight before the oppressive shade maker across the way.

My curiosity: What homeyness, and friendliness, isn’t seen but shared? Today, while shooting the Featured Image with Leica Q2, I got a strong whiff of flowers—roses, methinks. Is scent spread to accompany that alley art or is there a great garden behind the wooden fence? I can’t say other than to insist the lovely aroma wasn’t imagined.

I shot photos at two apertures—f/2 and f/5.6—and chose the latter. Vitals: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/200 sec, 28mm; 10:48 a.m. PST.