by Andy Weddington
Sunday, 18 October 2015
"The eyes like sentinel occupy the highest place in the body."
Marcus Tullius Cicero
About five miles east of Amboy - a still active oasis for fuel, snack foods, leg stretch and lodging, called Roy's Motel and Cafe, in the southern California desert along an otherwise desolate stretch of the historic Route 66 - on the south side some 35-40 yards off the highway is positioned a regal unblinking menacing sentinel protecting. Well, just protecting.
I've noticed the guard before but just zoomed on by. But wondered why he was there? Yesterday, heading east to west, I stopped to take photographs - but did not dare leave my car and approach (for not wanting to breach private property nor startle the guard).
How long Aloysius has been on duty is not known to me though less than a few years (believed). I remember a time when he was not posted.
Atop a base of concrete his post. His figure stands out. Cover and concealment not a concern. In fact, the opposite likely intended.
I've seen his imposing likes before - guarding entry to mansions and estates and sometimes more humble homes. Some have posed for paintings. One on the outskirts of Hope Town, Bahamas, comes to mind.
The name came to me out of the clear blue desert sky when taking his photograph.
Later I researched the name on Wikipedia and learned it's a Latinization for Lewis; Louis, Luis, Luigi; Ludwig and is of Germanic roots meaning "fame and war."
So what a fortuitous fit.
Aloysius is rather famous, I guess. A warrior, surely.
The desert landscape about Amboy is beautiful - mostly undisturbed and rugged country. It looks unforgiving. I do not have to imagine for I know such country is unforgiving. Survival a daily battle.
Train tracks run along the south side of Route 66. And they are busy.
Across from Roy's (on the north side) is a United States Postal Service building - about the size of a large shed.
Less than two dozen folks make for the Amboy population.
Did one of them put Aloysius on duty?
Some may think Aloysius a pollutant.
With eyes at the highest place of my body, differently I see it and him.
Aloysius adds intrigue to the landscape.
Aloysius is a conversation piece.
Though yesterday's conversation was with myself the conclusion was Aloysius is art. And he's just fine where perched.
Aloysius on duty
Aloysius on duty
Fine art! is Aloysius - on duty 24/7; at least for now.
The Amboy citizenry sleeps, in peace. As will the rare overnight guest - as Route 66 is no longer the place to get your kicks.