Driving terrifies me. Perhaps it is because I grew up in North Dakota and had no concept of traffic until I left the state at 18. Or because I then spent eight years on the East Coast riding subways and various other means of mass transit. Now, I’m a steady 10-2 driver (although, maybe I should switch to 9-3). I prefer no talking and often turn off the radio. The benefit of my unease is that I actually have a chance to look around.

That’s exactly what I was doing when I hit the red light on 17th Avenue at Washington Street the other day. I glanced to my left and saw a Tolkien-esque miniature door carved into a tree trunk. My curiosity was piqued.

Turns out that the creation is “Sound Totem,” a public art piece that was installed last October. You open the door to find musical notations decorated with birds and a speaker that plays a melody. Scan the QR code to visit a website where you can leave comments for the artists.

Afterwards, stop by the Avenue Grill, which is just across the street, for a pint of Odell Brewing Company’s India Pale Ale.

Natasha Gardner
Natasha Gardner
Natasha Gardner is a Denver-based writer and the former Articles Editor for 5280.