The Solution to Yesterday’s Puzzle!


Good Evening:

I published another one of my picture puzzles yesterday; click here if you haven’t seen it yet.

The object I photographed was made of concrete. It’s an old sort of concrete bench at the 22nd and Folsom bus stop for the 12-Folsom. It used to be the base upon which was mounted a wooden bench with metal supports, but they removed the bench long ago.

So here’s where all of those weird colors come from. Some of that was microscopic bits of rusted metal that somehow got imbedded into the concrete; the blue-ish marks were paint drippings that came from the sloppily-applied paint job on the wood; the other colors I would guess are a combination of minerals, mold, lichen, algae, and/or something similar, but please don’t take my word for it: I’m not a biologist.

What intrigued me about the bench was that I’ve seen similar before:

DSC_0360 DSC_0352 DSC_0287

But these have a natural origin. These are the beds of mineral hot springs at Yellowstone National Park. Those colors derive from the skeletons of millions of microbes that somehow lived and died in the hot and hostile environment. Thus our world has its way with human pretension; everything we create eventually looks like a not-quite-good-enough version of what nature does, um, naturally.

Vonn Scott Bair


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