tire beach windmill


This was the Third Tire Beach Windmill.


Bodil and I erected it on a small island in San Francisco Bay on the Vernal Equinox, 1999. We had attempted to set it up the previous weekend, but ran out of time and into problems. While we were working on it, a man came up to us and introduced himself as.... well, as Tire Beach's resident ecologist and spokesperson for the wild life. He was very articulate when told us that a big, flapping white thing was a natural danger signal, and would desensitize wild life. His residence was a three foot high cobbled-together shack in the weeds.


We hid the structure of the windmill back behind where he lived and took the top part back to the Splung warehouse. There, acting on the advice, Cicada and Z'ev Jenerik (five and eight, respectively) and I painted it with red oxide and blue paint. They did the sail, I did the blades.


When Bodil and I got back to Tire Beach to set it up, we found a group of bike messengers drinking beer and disassembling the bottom of the windmill. They were friendly enough. They had found it broken, and left on a hill, so figured it was fair game. "And after all," they told us, "it was bamboo..."


While we were making repairs, the resident ecologist came over and told us that he had broken the bamboo structure by trying to erect it, and he apologized. He went on to explain about how he had learned about wild life from watching pigeons, and how he was following as Medicine Way.


We worked hard all Equinox day, and it was ready at dusk. Our friends from the Bamboo Liberation Front arrived, and helped us pull it up and fasten it to the island. It was wonderful in the late light.


I went back a few days latter, and found that someone had thrown a piece of driftwood with some rope over the blades to keep it from turning properly. I suspected our resident ecologist. I was able to cut it free with a carving knife attached to a fifteen foot bamboo pole. It felt like a long weapon. I laid some flexible hose in the shape of an X in front of it, hoping that would somehow protect it.


I saw if spinning the next day from Twenty Fifth Street; it really looked wonderful to me.


We came back to look at it the third day on Bodil's whim during a walk. It was toppled over and into the water. Some one had wrapped it with caution tape and string and loosened the wires holding down two of its legs. We pulled it back up. We found the tail fin at the water's edge and carried it back home. We came back at low tide in a couple of days and found the blades.


It was stable enough, but not all of the natives were. In working on the previous Tire Beach Windmills, I spoke with several homeless people, and others who frequent Tire Beach, who recognized me as the person who had made the Windmill and who seemed to really like it.


I was happy to realize, while making this, that the fact that the blades rotated counter-clockwise may have helped with our problem of time poverty. It may have created a counter/time field which slows down time. I felt the effects after staying out there for a long time. Funny thing, though, it seemed like it was effective in slowing time even before it was built.


Thanks to Z'ev, Cicada, Liv, Mark Bvk, Mollitov, Ms. T, Aaron, Maria, Mandy and her friend Kevin.

To find Tire Beach, take 24th Street down to the Bay in San Francisco.


Larnie Fox