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  • I went to the Saint Louis Art Museum today.

    It was closed.

    Closed for a week of previews, exclusive showings for those who contributed to the new wing.

    The new wing, a rectangular marble walled adjunct.

    Designed to let natural light illuminate the paintings and sculptures.
  • Outside the older building, typical late19th/early 20th century classical Greek-influenced architecture, the statues gazed as impassively as ever.

    Tight lipped, these. Mine opened as I gazed towards a new sign.

    Parking.

    $15.

    A flat rate as far as I could judge.
  • I walked down to the entrance of the new parking garage.

    Underground.

    Expensive to build.

    Probably as expensive as the new display building.

    $15.

    The old surface parking lot had been free.

    I wondered who would pay $15 when parking on the access roads and a couple of other surface lots was still going to be free.

    Then I realized that the zoo, just on the other side of the hill, had a similar arrangement.

    A large lot, with expensive parking.

    But the zoo was free to enter, just like the art museum.

    Still, $15...

    I walked on, beside the new wing and towards the back of the museum.
  • There I found this sign.

    I wasn't quite sure what it meant at first.

    But then I saw the maple trees.

    Growing from pots.

    Decorated with white tags that flapped in the increasing wind.
  • Warm and inspiring messages.

    I looked back towards the sign and saw, below, tags and pens.

    Concealed beneath a flap that lifted up, just like a school desk.

    I pulled out a tag and began to write.

    I thought of the messages already decorating the tree.

    I thought of the sign for $15 parking.

    So this is what I wrote...
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