An 'Arrival' in Los Altos: Editor's Notebook

Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Our brave photographer managed to take this shot of the alien ship at the corner of El Monte Avenue and Springer Road. Surely, its invisible occupants are up to no good.

I had just seen the recent blockbuster film “Arrival,” a story about 12 giant black olives that appear in various parts of the world, hovering just off the ground. The film stars Amy Adams as a linguist who figures out how to communicate with the alien visitors inside the olives.

It was with this in mind that I came across our own “Arrival” in Los Altos: a glowing, white object standing in the otherwise tranquil mini-park at the El Monte Avenue and Springer Road intersection.

I was fascinated and curious. Could this thing communicate? Did it have a message?

The alien object in the park was much different from and much, much smaller than those in the movie. Nevertheless, I decided to approach it with caution. I donned a special suit to guard against possible radiation. I approached slowly so as not to startle the new arrival. It didn’t budge – so far, so good.

Like one would expect from something from outer space, the thing was rather odd looking. It had the feel of a spaceship sitting atop what looked like a bird’s legs. I had better be careful.

I uttered a “hello.” No response. Then I remembered: In “Arrival” the movie, the characters communicated in an obtuse kind of sign language using cue cards. I grabbed some cardboard and made two signs: “Hello” and “What are you doing here?” I figured there was a universal translator on board, so they would easily understand my messages.

Maybe they did, maybe not. The object remained unresponsive. Then I recalled the giant black olives from “Arrival,” so I figured I’d write something they might relate to. I flashed a card that said, “Salad.” Darn, still no response.

I got closer, but I stayed a safe distance. Fearing for my life, I dared not try to touch the thing. I was quite cognizant of a possible force field around the object that could obliterate me in a micro-second. And its unresponsiveness indicated to me the possibility that it not only didn’t like me, but also saw me as a threat.

Any second, it might attack.

I raced back to my vehicle and took off.

Should I alert the authorities? Surely, countless other people have seen this thing and reported it. So where were the police? The National Guard? The G-men in black suits and shades?

You’re not going to believe what I discovered: The alien spaceship, it turns out, is supposedly an outdoor sculpture, approved for the park by the Los Altos City Council. It’s called “Archimedes’ Goose” and was created by artist Arnold Marin.

Standing just over 9 feet tall, the sculpture – I’m told – is quite down to earth. The spaceship on top is in the shape of an old zeppelin, or so they say, and I guess the bird’s feet resemble those of a goose.

The way I heard it explained, the sculpture represents the intersection of nature and technology, and its theme complements the semi-rural feel of Los Altos and its connection to technology as the bedroom community for Silicon Valley executives.

Likely story. What if this explanation is merely a cover-up for aliens who are surely up to no good?

Public sculpture? Art? Ha! I’m not buying any of it. My advice: If you come across this “goose,” stay clear. And be sure to wear your protective suit, just in case.


Bruce Barton is editor-in-chief of the Town Crier.

Submit a Letter to the Editor

The Town Crier welcomes letters to the editor on current events pertinent to Los Altos, Los Altos Hills and Mountain View. Write to us at 138 Main St., Los Altos 94022, Attn: Editor, or email editor Bruce Barton at Because editorial space is limited, please confine letters to no more than 200 words. Include a phone number for verification purposes. Anonymous letters will not be printed.

You can also have your say right here at – scroll to the bottom of any story to add a comment. 

Schools »

Read More

Sports »

Read More

People »

Read More

Special Sections »

Special Sections
Read More

Photos of Los Altos

Browse and buy photos