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Archive for September, 2009

By Barbara Rick

 
 
Envy*, THE DOCUMENTARY (the movie you wish you made)

 
 
 
We at Out of The Blue Films, Inc. want to spread our appreciation around, nice and thick, for ALL those who have in some way contributed to The Out of The Blue Films ENVY Contest at red Ravine. Whether you sent in work, considered it, or even just envied the idea from afar (you know who you are), thank you!!

To you who scraped your souls and held a magnifying glass up to your hidden agendas—brava!
 
We received inspired works of fiction, essays, haiku, poetry, drawings, photographs—even a comic sketch script that we think would make a really funny short film—from writers and artists around the world.

We are all 21st century pioneers in the wild west of social networking, in particular, using technology to not only create a conversation about new work but to help create the work itself! This is the hot topic at the flurry of film panels I’ve been attending the past couple of weeks up at The Toronto International Film Festival, here in NYC at Independent Film Week, and at pre-launch parties and screenings at the venerable New York Film Festival.

Michael Moore was even talking about it onstage a few nights ago at Lincoln Center in a Q&A following his new film, Capitalism: A Love Story. No ENVY on my part, by the way, nosiree. (Me: lying like rug.)
 
 
 
 

∞ ∞ ∞

 
 
 
And, now, the winner:
 
Jill L. Ferguson of San Carlos, California for her poem/prose Like Paul, a painterly snapshot of the disastrous effects of ENVY on a young and talented violinist. Jill receives 1st Prize in The Out of The Blue Films, Inc. ENVY Contest at red Ravine: an Amazon Kindle.
 
We fell in love with this line:
 

He held and released each tone picturing it hover like a bird in flight, closing his eyes into the sound.

 
You can find out more about Jill at her website and review books she has authored and co-authored at this Amazon link.

On Thursday, October 2, red Ravine will post Like Paul in its entirety, so please come back and read this winning entry.
 
 
 
 

∞ ∞ ∞

 
 
 
 
Our judges found much to love in all the entries; it was tough to narrow it down to a single winner.

We also wanted to include excerpts from a few honorable mentions:
 
 
 
Charis Fleming’s searing essay on a mother’s flash of ENVY at her breast-feeding adult daughter and grandchild.

I gaze at the duo, daughter and grandson, and I want more than anything to tell them both how left out I am feeling. I want them to know if it wasn’t for me, neither of them would exist as they are.

 
 
 

 
 
 
 
Eileen Malone’s poem Beloved Rival.

on and on we went, an abbreviation
of small black-winged envies
drunkenly sucking each other’s blood

 
 
 

 
 
 
 
By a fourth writer, who wishes to remain Anonymous, a short story about WWEM or the Woman Who Envies Me.

The woman in question is a known screenwriter and actor, a mother, a wife, the author of two successful books, a person of financial means and connections, and enjoys excellent health. Except for her ENVY. The beauty of this story, the lesson for me, lies in its mystery. It is quite clear that she envies me desperately (the symptoms are all there; I recognize them from my own inner life). If I could find her in a moment of quiescent spirit, I could try to ask her why. There is no doubt in my mind that the answer would educate me deeply. No doubt whatsoever.

 





Last but not least, Patricia Anders in Calabasas, California submitted an evocative drawing depicting ENVY.

This and each of the honorable mentions will be published wholly in separate posts next week.



∞ ∞ ∞





Please work with us at Out of The Blue Films, Inc. to broaden and deepen the connection seeded here on red Ravine.

Here are three things you can do to keep the conversation growing:

  1. “Fan” us at facebook.com/Outofthebluefilms and tinyurl.com/ENVYonfacebook and tell us how you’d like to get involved with Team ENVY.
  2. Follow us and bring your friends (!) to our pages on twitter: ENVYthedoc, brickdoc, OuttaTheBlu.
  3. Meet us at our new blog.envydoc.com.


There, and here at red Ravine, we’ll discuss some of the ways we might use some of the entries in the film, flash you glimpses of the film and our creative process, behind-the-scenes action (and procrastination), funding dramas and successes, as we march ever forward in the making of this multi-disciplinary mega-platform documentary film project which will tell the true story of ENVY. Asking you for input, ideas, and to share in the exhilaration of it, all along the way.

Thank you to ybonesy and QuoinMonkey for an amazing experiment in creative collaboration! Remember to check back later this week to see the full winning entry, and next week for the honorable mentions.

Gratitude to all!

 

 

__________________________________________________________________________________________

red Ravine is not liable for any actions by Out of The Blue Films, Inc., nor the Film. red Ravine has no legal responsibility for any outcomes from the contest.

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By Bob Chrisman



I possess no physical evidence to offer in defense of my father. Family stories and my own fragmented memories comprise what little I know of him. Fifty-seven years have blurred much of what I remembered, but I will bear witness for him.

At a trial, the court clerk would instruct me to raise my right hand. “Do you solemnly swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?” I would hesitate before I answered. I don’t know the “truth.” I only know my truth. But the court doesn’t want to hear my doubts. The only answer to the question is, “I do.”


BOB IMG_1781

My Father – 8 Months Old, circa 1914, Missouri, photo © 2009, Bob Chrisman. All rights reserved.



On February 28, 1914, my father, Len Chrisman, became the first child of H.T. and Annie Chrisman. In September of that same year, H.T.’s gall bladder ruptured. The resulting infection killed him. My father never knew his father, not even from stories, because his mother didn’t talk about the man.

Several men courted the Widow Chrisman. A local banker, my father’s favorite, asked her several times to marry him, but she refused.

When she remarried in 1920, she chose a widower, William Hecker, who had seven children. By all accounts, including some from his children, he was a very angry man. Mr. Hecker stipulated one condition for the marriage. “You must promise that you’ll never favor your son over my children.” She promised, and she never broke a promise.

BOB IMG_1780

My Father In His Baby Carriage, circa 1914, Missouri, photo © 2009, Bob Chrisman. All rights reserved.

My father rarely talked about the mother of his childhood. I remember him saying, “She married him because the children needed a mother. She felt sorry for them.”

The step-daughters resented her. Ruth, the oldest, had already married and left home. Fern and Gladys soon followed their oldest sister’s lead. The remaining daughter, Myrtle, who was my father’s age, loved both her new stepmother and stepbrother. The teenaged stepsons, Ralph and Glenn, took after their father. They hated my dad because he had been an only child with a mother all to himself. The remaining step-son, Everett, died in 1926. My father rarely spoke of him, except to say, “He died too young.”

Early in the marriage they lived in western Nebraska. One day the boys roped my dad and dragged him behind a horse through cactus patches. “I never cried. Mom pulled the needles out of my bottom and back with a pair of pliers. I didn’t cry then either. I never let them have that satisfaction.” His voice remained flat as he told the first part of the story, but cracked when he said. “You know, my own mother didn’t say anything to Dad Hecker or to the boys.”

A high school teacher offered to send him to college and pay his expenses. My father wanted to go. “Mom and Dad Hecker listened politely. The last thing he said was, ‘A brilliant mind like his shouldn’t go to waste.'”

BOB IMG_1782

Widow Chrisman & Her Son, circa early 1900s, Missouri, photo © 2009, Bob Chrisman. All rights reserved.


“Mom answered as soon as he finished, didn’t even take time to mull it over. ‘None of the other kids went to college. Len doesn’t need to go either.’ It wouldn’t have cost them anything. I left the room because I was so mad at her.”

Her decision doomed my dad to a lifetime of farm labor and blue collar jobs. He worked at a dairy. He worked in a foundry, a meat packing plant, and finally in a grain mill. He never fit in with his fellow workers. He read too much, thought too much.

My father met my mother in the mid-1930’s. She lived down the street from his parents. The two became friends. In the late 1930’s he traveled to Oregon to pick fruit because local jobs didn’t exist. His traveling companions were his future brothers-in law. He wrote letters to my mother. She saved them, called them “love letters” even though they contained no obvious expressions of love, other than “Love, Len.”


I asked my mother why she married him. At that time, he had been bedridden for five years. “Did you love him?”

She dodged the question. “I promised myself that I would marry someone like my dad.”

“Was Daddy like him?”

“No, he was nothing like my father. I felt sorry for Len. He needed me.” I cringed. My heart hurt. She hadn’t loved my father. I didn’t ask any more questions because I didn’t want to know the answers.


BOB IMG_1787

My Father Dressed For A Tom Thumb Wedding, circa early 1900's, Missouri, photo © 2009, Bob Chrisman. All rights reserved.


In 1942, my sister was born. My father loved her. She was his special child.

In 1943 his stepfather died, but not before he secured a promise from his wife to watch over Ralph. My father never understood why she agreed to put up with someone who had treated her so rudely, a man who cussed and swore about everything. Maybe she felt sorry for him because his vision was so severely impaired. Whatever the reason, she took care of him until her death 32 years later in 1975.

In 1952 I arrived. Unexplainably, my mother laid sole claim to me. She excluded my sister and father from taking care of me. I was her child. The possession of my life had begun.

For the first five years I slept next to my parents’ bed in a crib, then on a tiny rollaway bed. Our four-room house didn’t have any extra rooms. My father added two rooms, moved my sister to a new bedroom and moved me into her old room.

He lived his early life abandoned and betrayed by the people who loved him or should have loved him.  He had no protector, no father. Long after he died I complained to my mother about the kind of father he had been. “Don’t be so hard on him. He never learned to be a father because he never had one himself.” My father and I never had a chance to have a normal father-son relationship. That’s all the truth I know for now.




About Bob: Bob Chrisman is a Kansas City, Missouri writer who frequently writes memoir about his mother, her three sisters, and their influence on his life. This is Part II of a series of three about his father. Part I, My Father’s Witness, was published on red Ravine in August. Bob’s other red Ravine posts include Aunt Annie’s Scalloped Oysters, Hands, Growing Older, Goat Ranch, Stephenie Bit Me, Too, The Law Of Threes, and In Memoriam.

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ybonesy's bones, a shot of my pendants from the We Art the People Folk Festival, September 2009, photo © 2009 by Joel Deluxe, all rights reserved

ybonesy’s bones, ybonesy’s pendants displayed in black beans
at the We Art the People Folk Festival, September 2009,
photo © 2009 by Joel Deluxe. All rights reserved.

 
 


I’m having fun. Playing with the Scrabble and other game tile pendants I’ve been making, turning them into bigger and better things.

I’m nuts for milagros and medallions. I once bought a collection of Catholic medallions from Ecuador, one family’s history with First Holy Communions, praying for miracles, and visiting religious sites. There must have been almost 100 medals in the collection, and I took half of them and put them onto a silver chain. It’s still one of my favorite necklaces.

Last weekend I did something similar with my own pendants. I took a wide-linked, choker-length necklace and started adding Scrabble tile pendants to it. I had some milagros I’d picked up in Sedona, Arizona, a few years back at a garage sale whose owner had just closed down a retail store of Western kitcsh. I also made some charms with my doodles and with images from religious cards I’ve collected over the years. A mixing and matching of all sorts of doodads.
 
 
 

              

                                       

scrabble milagro (one and two), ybonesy’s pendants and charms
mixed with found milagros and charms to make a necklace,
photos © 2009 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.

 
 
 
 
I have other ideas, too, for earrings and bracelets. I’m not sure where this will lead me. Jewelry is a tough business to compete in, and some of the tile pendants I’ve been using are vintage and hard to find. Plus, my primary passion is painting and doodling.

But I’m going with the momentum. It’s all art, it’s all learning, and it’s a heckuva lot of fun for now.
 
 



 

A sampling of pendants (made from existing and new doodles) for the milagro charm necklaces, images and photos © 2009 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.





Show What?


In preparation for another art festival this Saturday, I’ve reflected on what worked well at last month’s event and what I wouldn’t mind leaving behind. Here is a list of my insights:

  • Lighten up. How these two words have presented themselves to me again and again! Don’t take the event so seriously as to think I have to do everything, now! It’s not my one shot at perfection. I don’t have to push myself to make just one more each of 13 different designs, just in case I sell out of them. Or to prepare for every possible scenario. What if I need to take orders? What if I run out pens? What if I changes my prices? GET OVER IT. None of it is life or death, and it sure ain’t worth staying up until 2 in the morning the night before wracking your brain as to what you’ve forgotten. Get done what you can and don’t worry about the rest.
  • Process matters. Inquiring minds want to know. Do you paint this small? Does it need a mold? What does this drawing mean? I loved it. Artists love talking about their work. Other vendors came by and wanted to know how I got my artwork on t-shirts. I explained the whole thing and left them with the phone number of the silk-screener. So what if next show everyone and their mother shows up with domed resin pendants and silk-screened t-shirts bearing original art? Nothing is original in today’s world. Plus, the more I give, the more I receive. Honest.
  • As with job interviews and blind dates, first impressions are everything. The display is what anyone sees first, so it should appeal to the senses. And it doesn’t have to be expensive. Black beans, 79¢ a pound. Fabric from Hobby Lobby, some odd dollars. Three wire frames painted in bright colors, also from Hobby Lobby, $14 each but on sale half off. (Photo by Joel Deluxe, priceless!)
  • Location times three. Not much needs to be said there, except, show up early to get a good spot.
  • Friends and mentors. It’s less scary to partner with a friend, plus you can watch each other’s booths and meet each other’s friends and talk up each other’s art. (And glom on to her when she gets invited to a by-invitation-only festival, and eat her fried chicken, and, and….) Also, I didn’t think up the black beans on my own; my sister came up with that after I told her I thought I needed a black background versus the oft-used white rice.
  • Let yourself get scared and discouraged. For a day, maybe two, but then move on. It’s natural to freak out, but get over it.
  • Practice. The only way I stay fresh, make new images, keep things moving forward, is to keep up my practices—writing and doodling.

 


Las Tres Mujeres, trio of three new pendants
(but only one new doodle), images and photos
© 2009 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.

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Can I be frank? I’m not fond of rules.

I loved the badges they handed out in Girl Scouts for doing things like embroidering (they looked so cool on your sash) but I hated embroidering. In places like Oregon, I admire how the traffic flows so well with those red-light-green-light on-ramps, but I reject the notion that I have to be told when to merge onto the freeway. (You should see me hoot and holler and sing “Oh Fair New Mexico!” when I run those on-ramp lights.)

And I absolutely cherish receiving blogging awards, but I struggle with the requirement that we link back to the person who thought up the award to begin with (who, in this case, we don’t even know) and then dole out exactly five awards to other bloggers.

So, I am going to rejoice in the fact that QuoinMonkey and I recently received The Superior Scribbler award from Sharon Lippincott (aka ritergal) over at The Heart and Craft of Life Writing—who, by the way, we’ve been following for over two years and who we enjoy immensely—but I’m not going to re-post the rules of the award nor do the linky-link thing nor bestow the award (I hate bestowing anything, unless it is a wart) to five bloggy friends.

(I sure hope this doesn’t land me in Blogger Award Jail, or worse, Blogger Award Solitary Confinement, where no awards are ever bestowed on me again, because, by golly, I’m a poor winner. Dang.)
 
But in the spirit of doing awards ybonesy-style with a big heap of QM thrown in, we’d like to take this opportunity to highlight fellow bloggers who scribble awfully well and photograph like the dickens and make us laugh and are just plain nice people:

  • First, Sharon-slash-ritergal is a Superior Scribbler. She wrote and published the story of her early life in New Mexico (you gotta love that!) and gave a blow-by-blow of how she did the publishing part. And at the end of almost every post, she includes a “Write Now” prompt, motivating readers to not just read her stuff but write their own.
  • Bo over at Seeded Earth has inspired us for a couple of years with her photographs, not to mention I got to meet her and Mr. Bo in person (and they are lovely people), but Bo recently redesigned her website, and man, she is rockin’. Role model, friend, fellow lover of nature, all-around wise soul.
  • Another photographer, Stevo at Asian Ramblings, wows us with the way he documents his life living as an expat in China, plus he’s a friend on Facebook, which means I get to hear what’s really going on in his head. Kidding.
  • If you’ve never visited Jules over at Thinking About…, you have missed some great book and film reviews and a most excellent chicken parmigiana recipe, which, by the way Jules, I made last week and had my family believing that I had been returned from an alien abduction with superior cooking skills. I have since shattered their dream.
  • Corina at Wasted Days and Wasted Nights is another person you must visit if you haven’t already. Her posts are often based on memoir, and what memories she has, not to mention she’s about to become a grandmother. And given that I grew up on Freddy Fender, I was hooked the moment I saw her blog title.
  • You’ll notice we’re drawn to photographers, which leads us to Robin at Life in the Bogs. Excellent photographer and finder of the perfect quote to go with the photograph (although that’s her other blog–Bountiful Healing) and on Bogs we get to share in Robin’s life and her love of nature, especially her ever-changing pond.
  • Heather, Heather, Heather. What can we say about Heather, except, my God, that is one freakin’ funny woman. And she is entering her hour, which is to say, she is the Queen of Hallo-Ween. So if you keep an eye on Anuvue Studio during the month of October, chances are you will see the transformation of her home into a full-blown folks-otta-be-paying-for-this-but-Heather-would-never-make-‘em event. Oh, another stellar photographer to boot.

 

So these are the folks we’d like to shine a light on—today. Visit them, comment, relish, noogie, Snoopy dance, high-five. You won’t be sorry.

Oh, and we will do this again, hopefully not before too long, since there are others we’d like to point out and since ya shouldn’t need an award before it dawns on you that the blogging community you’ve been hanging with for a year, two years, some going on three years now—they’re awfully talented and pretty darned special.

Blog on!

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lifeline – the rio grande , C-41 print film, close up of the Rio
Grande River from the Gorge Bridge, outside Taos, New
Mexico, January 2003, photo © 2003-2009 by QuoinMonkey.
All rights reserved.



rivers pour like words–
geological fault line
the length of my heart


gully, gulch, or wash?
the mighty Rio Grande
started as a rift


who can heal the gap?
lost key dangles from the bridge
steady leap of faith











flying – the rio grande (with lens flare), C-41 print film, longshot of the Rio Grande River from the Gorge Bridge, outside Taos, New Mexico, January 2003, photo © 2003-2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.





-posted on red Ravine, Saturday, September 19th, 2009

-haiku inspired by a Flickr comment on the approach

-related to posts: haiku 2 (one-a-day), Are You River, Desert, Mountains, Ocean, Lake, City, Or None Of The Above?

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The rr‘s are rolled, a-rrrr-oyo. One of those words that we chronically mispronounce ’round here, like burro. Or burrito. Or the town where I live, which when I say it the way the Spaniards intended it to be said, has depth, like you’re digging down into the roots of the town. Co-rrrrrales.

And my name. My real name, not my pseudonym. Two rr‘s in the middle of a Spanish word are pronounced the same way as one r that is the first letter in a Spanish word.

I’m caught up in Spanish pronunciation these days. Some words come easily, like bosque. That’s another word the Spaniards left us that talks about the nature. And the Sandia Mountains, which are shaped like a sandia, or watermelon. Shaped like a big wedge of a watermelon, cut lengthwise, and at sunset, and sometimes at sunrise, blushing the same color as a watermelon.

I know what an arroyo is because I see them all the time, homes built right up the edge of arroyos, but even the developers aren’t greedy enough to build in the arroyos, although I bet a few have. But many will build right up the edge, which erodes over time, and widens. And then the house’s foundation moves underneath it and cracks.

Problem around here is that so much of the land is river valley, and even the land up on the mesas (another Spanish gift, “tables”) is mostly sand. It shifts and moves, like a snake, with the rains. What we call our monsoons. One year it rained for days straight, some claimed it was the 100-year floods, causing roads and driveways and yards in the sandhills of Corrales and Rio Rancho to wash out. After that, municipal government meetings were filled with faces of people who never showed up to meetings before, demanding that the roads be paved.

I think of cañoncitos and cañadas being a size or two up from arroyos, but that’s just my own odd way of thinking about them. I’m not sure to tell the truth. But in my world of categorizing natural landmarks, arroyos are a size small, cañoncitos a size medium, and cañadas a large. I wonder what the extra-large is.

Mostly I see the words Cañon and Cañada nowadays used in subdivisions. “The Chamisas at Cañoncito.” “The Greens of Las Cañadas.” Not much with the word arroyo, but that’s because it would be like calling something “The Manors at Ditch Way.”

When I was growing up the landmarks used in subdivisions seemed to be related to arbors and glens and farms. Since then, Spanish-sounding names have came into fashion, I guess.

Arroyo really is a sort of gente word. A word of the people. Like burro. A common word. I like how the Spaniards named things so they could remember the landmarks when they returned. Tijeras was an area shaped like scissors. And Socorro, which means “emergency,” was where they almost ran out of water and food and died. Las Cruces, the crosses. Albuquerque was named after a duke, but so many of the names around here originate from how something looked or what they held. Los Ritos—little rivers. Los Alamos—the cottonwoods.

Where we live now, it used to be lots of land and corrals. Farming and horses. Still some of that, although mostly it’s big houses and suburbia.

-related to Writing Topic post: Standing Your Ground — Arroyo, Gulch, Gully & Wash

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I’m at Arches National Park near the town of Moab, Utah. I don’t know if I’m looking at an arroyo or a wash. Is it both? We set up camp in a low-lying area surrounded by high boulders and pointy crops of red rock. The elevation reaches over 5500 feet.

I’m camping in the desert with photographers from RIT. They are strangers to me until this trip. I’m an MCAD student and see a flyer on the bulletin board for a summer exchange program. I make a plan for one man to swing by Minneapolis on his way to Albuquerque and pick me up. I meet him in a small town in Wisconsin, ride with him along the southern route through Iowa and Texas. We stop to chat with a friendly woman at an east Texas gas station that I would love to interview.

No time. We have to keep driving.

We visit and photograph a hot springs north of Jemez Springs, New Mexico — Spence Hot Springs. It’s a short hike across a foot log over the Jemez River, and up a wooded hill. Before that, I walked around Albuquerque and bought a pair of binoculars in a camera store. We stayed the first night in an old travel motel with a single squat room. Green linoleum floors, a refrigerator, a small stove. It smelled musty like decades of old sweat.

I don’t know what possessed me to sign up for the month trip. It was a time when I took more risks. I didn’t end up being friends with any of the RIT photographers. But the photographs – I’ll never forget pitching my borrowed Eureka! tent right on a ledge over Lake Powell. It wasn’t a smart move. I woke up in the middle of the night to tent stakes being ripped out of the ground by gale force canyon winds. Frightened, I quickly stirred, circled the green flaps and tried to pound the stakes back into the hard earth.

It was no use. I dragged my tent, with everything inside, further back into the grassy area. I couldn’t get back to sleep. So I went out to the edge of what used to be Glen Canyon (until they flooded her to make the lake) and took black and white photographs of the full moon. It was a lonely feeling. Yet the stars were so bright. The way they can only shine in New Mexico or Montana.

Arches Park. The wash. The arroyo. I’m back in Arches. Not long after we pitched our tents in the campsite, a thunderstorm approached. I was starting to get used to the afternoon rains, 108 degree daytime temperatures that dipped to freezing at dark, fierce lightening that cracked across the late night skies. But this storm was different.

The torrential rain hit suddenly and fast, pelting our sun burnt faces and skin. There were about 12 of us in various camping positions around the site. A flash flood rushed headlong down the cracks and gullies between outcropped rocks, sweeping into our campsite.

No time to think. I was taking a nap when my tent floor started filling with water. Unzipppppped the fly and poked my head out to chaos. Everyone was scrambling to get their camera equipment, clothes, and sleeping bags up off the ground and into the cars. Ankle deep water, rising to the knees. Then it was over.

The fire burned all night, flames licking sleeping bags, shirts, and cargo shorts perched on sticks in a circle around the heat. Eventually, we dried out. But I’ll never forget how quickly the arroyo filled with hot-blooded summer rains, scaring the living daylights out of me. A valuable lesson learned about the arroyo seco and the wash – dry to wet in the blink of an eye. If you are living on the land, beware.


-posted on red Ravine, Friday, September 18th, 2009

-Note: lost track of time when doing this practice. It ended somewhere between 15 -20 minutes, probably closer to 20.

-related to Writing Topic post: Standing Your Ground — Arroyo, Gulch, Gully & Wash

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