Thursday, December 16, 2004

Time on Vista Avenue

The sundial on Vista Avenue can be easily overlooked. The time piece, whis is attached to the side of the Saint Louis University Hospital, is part of an angelic gargoyle above the side entrance. My knowledge of Latin is minimal, but the inscription appears to relate to the sanctity and glory of the land. Originally, the hospital bore the name of Desloge, an old St. Louis family whose fortune came from mining lead in Southeast Missouri. The waste from those mining operations, which ended decades ago, can still be seen in and around the town of the same name. Lead contamination of the nearby Big River has forced the Missouri Department of Natural Resources to place a ban on fishing in the stream. Children in the area show signs of leading poisoning. So much for the sanctity of the land. In any event, when the sun shines the sundial cradled in the arms of the stone angel keeps good time. When I passed under her it was 9:45 a.m.