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Posts Tagged ‘New Mexico’

Carlsbad Cavern f autoPS

On The Trail In The Big Room, Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico, mailed in 1947 from Whites City, New Mexico, vintage postcard found in Monticello, Minnesota, March 2011, Colortone © Curt Teich & Co., photo scan © 2011 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Jim White, the discoverer and explorer of Carlsbad Caverns has his experiences written up in a book of thirty-two pages with 30 illustrations, of which 16 subjects are in beautiful colors, and a wonderful colored cover entitled: Jim White’s Own Story.” Be sure and read these thrilling experiences of a lone cowboy three days under the world in Carlsbad Caverns.”


Before Ione wandered through the Joshua Trees & Desert Sands of California, she went spelunking deep in the underground caves of Carlsbad Caverns National Park in New Mexico. She would have accessed the park’s only entrance road, New Mexico Highway 7, by turning north off of US Hwy 62/180 at Whites City, New Mexico – which is 16 miles southwest of Carlsbad, NM and 150 miles northeast of El Paso, Texas.

The scenic entrance road stretches 7 miles from the park gate at Whites City (formerly the entrance to Walnut Canyon) to the Visitor Center and cavern entrance (which explains why the card is postmarked Whites City). To make it even more confusing, the address for the park’s Visitor Center is 727 National Parks Highway, Carlsbad, NM, even though it’s located 23 miles from the actual town.


Carlsbad Cavern b

Carlsbad Caverns – Jan 23 1947, Whites City, New Mexico, vintage postcard found in Monticello, Minnesota, March 2011, Colortone © Curt Teich & Co., photo scan © 2011 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.


Carlsbad, N.M.

Here we are at the Caverns. You can’t imagine what they are. The most desolate country around here. All well. Everything going fine.

Ione.


Ione would have traveled 1300 miles from Dover, Minnesota to Carlsbad Caverns a year before the new visitor center was built, and one year after Jim White died in Carlsbad, on April 26, 1946 at the age of 63. Did you know April 16th – 24th is National Park week? What is your favorite national park? If you took a visit to Carlsbad Caverns you would find:

  • 117 (known) caves formed when sulfuric acid dissolved the surrounding limestone
  • During the Summer, the caves are home to 400,000 Brazilian (more commonly called Mexican) free-tail bats [NOTE: To learn more about bats, visit Bats, Beautiful Bats! a piece about bat evangelist Michelle McCaulley who spreads the truth about the benefits of bats and other wildlife. Michelle runs the Rio Grande Basin Bat Project, which was created by her late father, Jim McCaulley.]
  • Carlsbad Cavern is only one of over 300 limestone caves in a fossil reef laid down by an inland sea 250 to 280 million years ago. The limestone rock that holds Carlsbad Cavern is full of ocean fossil plants and animals from a time before the dinosaurs when the southeastern corner of New Mexico was a coastline similar to the Florida Keys.
  • Twelve to fourteen thousand years ago, American Indians lived in the Guadalupe Mountains; some of their cooking ring sites and pictographs have been found within the present day boundaries of the park.

Jim White began to explore the cave as a teenager in 1898, using a handmade wire ladder to descend 60 feet into the cave. As an early visitor to Carlsbad Cavern, you might have entered the cave via an old guano mining bucket. In 1901, Abijah Long, a fertilizer expert, realized that guano could be used as a nitrate rich fertilizer. The following year, Long filed a claim for guano mining inside the caverns, and he offered Jim White work as a foreman. In about 20 years, an estimated 100,000 tons of guano were taken from Carlsbad Caverns at as much as $90 a ton. It wasn’t until years later, January 6th, 1912, that New Mexico officially became a state. If you had visited the park in 1928, you may have bumped into Amelia Earhart who gave underground park tours that year.

Though there are many legends and myths about which immigrants first discovered “The Bat Cave” (Native Americans knew of the caves thousands of years before), Jim White spent much of his life trying to convince others of the need for preservation. In October 1923, President Calvin Coolidge declared Carlsbad Caverns a national monument, and Jim White became cavern guide. In 1924, geologist Willis T. Lee explored the caves with White and wrote an article for National Geographic attracting national attention. On February 9th, 1937, Jim White began selling his book Jim White’s Own Story (ghostwritten by Frank Ernest Nicholson) in the cave, and his wife Fanny continued to sell it until her death in 1964.


-related to posts:  WRITING TOPIC: ROADSIDE ATTRACTIONS, greetings from artesia haiku, Roswell, NM — Aliens Welcome Here, and for a more modern visit to the caves check out Postcards From Carlsbad Caverns

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shadow auto 2

Moon Over Taos Mountain, Taos, New Mexico, January 2003, Tri-X black & white film print, photo © 2003-2011 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.


December marks a time of darkness and silent reflection leading up to the Winter Solstice. Most Decembers, Natalie holds a writing retreat around the time of December 1st through 8th. In Zen, this time is called Rohatsu Sesshin and marks the enlightenment of the Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama. For those heading to Taos to write, it’s a time of community solitude, an opportunity to go within.

sherpa 2 auto

Slow Walking, Natalie Goldberg, Taos, New Mexico, January 2003, Tri-X B&W film print, photo © 2003-2011 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

This week ybonesy and several other writing friends will be making the jouney to Taos to sit in silence. I find comfort in knowing they will be there under Taos Mountain. When they sit, they sit for all of us. The zendo casts a wide circle. Everything is connected. We can sit and write in solidarity.

There will be long nights under Mabel’s lights and slow walks into Taos. Some will walk the morada, visit the graves of Mabel and Frieda, soak up places that Georgia walked on her first visits to New Mexico. Notebooks will be filled with Writing Practices, later to be reread.

Whatever’s at the surface will fall away. What’s important is what is underneath.  Underbelly.


Sit, Walk, Write. With Gratitude to a long lineage of mentors and teachers. For all that has come before. And all that will be.


Note: ybonesy and I met in Taos at a Writing Retreat. We’ll be forever connected by that thread. And the practice that became red Ravine. We’ve written many pieces on our time spent in Taos. To learn more about Sit, Walk, Write or our experience of studying with Natalie Goldberg at the Mabel Dodge Luhan House, check out the links in this post. Or click on any of the posts under Taos. With Gratitude to our readers, those at the Mabel Dodge Luhan House, Natalie, and all the writers and artists who keep showing up to brave the silence. We are all in this together.


–posted on red Ravine, Sunday, December 5th, 2010

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balloon fiesta at home (three), the motto of the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is “Mass Happiness” and that’s what we’re feeling on this last weekend of the event, October 10, photos © 2009 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.




    


    


   


     


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Apples for Sale, getting ready to set up a roadside stand in the
Rio Grande Valley, photo © 2009 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.









autumn’s abundance
sits on a roadside waiting
like good pie filling












The trees turn



and African daisies fade to shades of

.




We harvest the trees

We pluck and pick and take from the bounty.

And still there is one here

another there

too many to count.




Apples that are golden, deep red, and

.




Let them eat be pie!






-Related to posts This Time Of Year, Irrigation Day In The Rio Grande Valley and haiku 2 (one-a-day).

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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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the key, C-41 print film, up on the mesa top, outside
Taos, New Mexico, January 2003, photo © 2003-2009
by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.
 
 
 
 
 
 


 

frozen rusty lock
not knowing she has the key–
waits for the next turn

 








-posted on red Ravine, Thursday, September 17th, 2009

-related to post: haiku 2 (one-a-day)

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the desert is no lady, C-41 print film, driving across
New Mexico, January 2003, photo © 2003-2009 by
QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

 
 

Yesterday our blog friend from Seeded Earth was reading her journal from last October and posting snippets on Twitter. One journal entry caught Liz’s eye:

 

Is a wash different from an arroyo, or a gully, or a gulch? We drove over a wash (looks like a dry creek bed) called Car Wash. Really. True.

The entry reminded Liz of last May when we went to see Patricia Hampl and purchased the book Home Ground – Language for an American Landscape. She tweeted back to Bo that she would look up the words arroyo, gully, gulch and wash.

This morning when I got up, Liz was placing Post-it notes on those sections of the book before driving off to work. Curious, I thumbed through the bookmarks and started reading. Our Word Of The Day multiplied to four. I was so fascinated by the subtle differences that I was inspired to post excerpts from the Home Ground definitions on red Ravine.

 
So is a wash different from an arroyo, or a gully, or a gulch? Before you read the answer, what are your definitions? They are powerful, visual words that might even make good Writing Practices. Write one of the words at the top of your page — 10 minutes, Go!

 
_________________________________________________________________

 

arroyo

The Spanish word arroyo means “large creek.” Often steep-walled, an arroyo may be flat-bottomed sand or laden with boulders and gravel. Arroyuelo and arroyito are the diminutive forms and mean “rill” or “brook.” Arroyos are ephemeral streams, carrying water only briefly during such events as spring runoff of the summer monsoons. In the American Southwest the words arroyo and wash are sometimes used interchangeably, as are arroyo seco (meaning “dry”) and dry wash — though the English terms often describe shorter or abbreviated water courses stretching less than a mile and not necessarily part of a specific arroyo.

 -Arturo Longoria from his home ground, The Texas brushlands, Zapata County, Starr County, Texas

 
 
gulch

In the western United States, gulch is a word for a small ravine. Deeper than a gully, generally narrow and steep sided, shallower than a canyon. Miners often found gold or other minerals concentrated in a gulch’s swash channel. The Blue Cloud Gulch and the Old Dominion Gulch in Montana each yielded gold, silver, and copper for many years. Artifacts of ancient civilizations are also sometimes exposed in a gulch. In Grand Gulch, Utah, for instance, the Anasazi left their mark in red sandstone. In the profusion of gifts offered by gulches, none was more spectacular than the one discovered by a miner in New Mexico in 1987. He saw the tip of tusk in a gulch; the remains were later identified as those of a Columbian mammoth. Public and scientific interest brought about a full excavation of this site, now known as the Dry Gulch Mammoth Site, exposing a grail of bones.

 -Elizabeth Cox from her home ground, Chattanooga, Tennessee

 
 
gully

A channel worn in the earth by a torrent of water carving out a deep ditch is called a gully. Gully erosion happens after a rill, a high-velocity rush of water, has moved large amounts of soil along a depression or drainage line. As water wears away the land, the rill — the geomorphic feature — becomes a gully; cutting farther down, the headlong water makes a gulch, until the cellar doors open into a canyon. Geographers distinguish between gullies, washes, and arroyos on the one hand, and cañadas on the other, according to the materials involved. Cañadas — like cañoncitos — slice through bedrock. Arroyos and washes cut through flat layers of valley deposits; and gullies and gulches erode hill-slope materials.

 -Elizabeth Cox from her home ground, Chattanooga, Tennessee 

 
 
wash

The word wash is used to describe areas where subtle contours allow water to flow, or “wash,” from elevated sites to lower zones, like the bottoms of canyons or along gullies or next to ponds. Carrizo Wash in Arizona and Hunters Wash in New Mexico are examples of washes that run for many miles. A dry streambed or creek is often called a dry wash. In some areas of the American Southwest the words arroyo and arroyo seco are used interchangeably with wash and dry wash. In Desert Solitaire, Edward Abbey writes: “Streambeds are usually dry. The dry wash, dry gulch, arroyo seco. Only after a storm do they carry water and then briefly–a few minutes, a couple of hours.”

 -Arturo Longoria from his home ground, The Texas brushlands, Zapata County, Starr County, Texas

 

-partial excerpts from Home Ground — Language for an American Landscape, published by Trinity University Press

 
_______________________________________________________________

 
-For more information on the Home Ground Project or to purchase your copy of Home Ground — Language for an American Landscape, important links can be found in the post and Comment conversation at Home Ground — Back In The Saddle. 

Gratitude to the writers of Home Ground, to Bo from Seeded Earth for asking the question, and to Liz for responding. Together they became the inspiration for this Writing Topic.


-posted on red Ravine, Wednesday, September 16th, 2009

-related to post: Midwest Poets & Writers — When Can You Call A Place Home?

 

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We saw a rainbow that started here…


Bright, double rainbow that appears to start in the corner of the field, captured at dusk after a March rain, photo © 2009 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.


 


                              …and stretched across the entire sky…


Faint, rainbow’s mid-section, photo © 2009 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.





…until it landed there…(you might see it if you squint)


Fainter, rainbow’s end, photo © 2009 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.






What do you see out your window?








-related to Topic post:  WRITING TOPIC — WINDOW and Tonight’s Sky, With The Help Of My Computer

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Carlsbad Caverns (one) — “the postcard experiment,” inside the Caverns on November 29, images and photos © 2008 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.






Dear Mom,

You wouldn’t believe the Caverns. They are so cool. I haven’t been here since a Fifth Grade field trip with Alvarado Elementary. Remember?

Dad dropped me off at the school parking lot at 3:30 in the morning. It was dark. They served us McIlheney Dairy milk (probably unpasturized in those days) and store-bought donuts. Gross. Last thing you’d want in your stomach before a four-hour bus ride.

But the Caverns themselves are everything I remember and more. Wish you were here.

Love from me










Dear Mom,

Carlsbad Caverns is called the “Eighth Wonder of the World.” And it is. We walked all day long, took a guided tour of an area called King’s Palace and then we did two self-guided tours. 

This formation was called something like Walrus Tooth, except that wasn’t it. I should have taken notes. As it was, it was hard to take photos. They fall way short of the real beauty and magic. (Although, I have to say, in the Visitors Center there is a display of Cavern photos by Ansel Adams that are just stunning.)

Hope Sony is being a good girl.

Love you,
moi










Dear Mom,

I just found out that you and Dad have never been to Carlsbad Caverns. I can’t believe it! You’ve got to see it. Dad almost made me cry on the cell phone when he said it’s probably too late for him. Not so, I told him. We can rent a wheelchair. I saw several people in wheelchairs down there.

There’s a 750-foot elevator that takes you down in less than two minutes, or you can walk all the way down via the original entrance. We did both, and I preferred walking (I got a little creeped out by the elevator at first, but by the third ride I was old hat). We’ll definitely take the elevator with Dad.

They say January is the best time to come. We can visit Aunt Erma and Uncle Henry in Lincoln, just like we did this trip. Hopefully there won’t be snow.

All for now. We love you.

Yo









Dear Mom,

Next time we come to Carlsbad Caverns, we’ll stay in Roswell. It’s a lot cuter than the town of Carlsbad. Plus, Carlsbad kind of stinks. All that natural gas and oil. (Not in the Caverns, but above ground. I guess that’s part of the geology that went into forming these caves.)

Did you know that a guy named Jim White “discovered” the Caverns in about 1901? He was 16 or 17 years old, riding the Chihuahuan Desert on his horse, when he noticed a huge black flume coming from a hole in the ground. Turned out to be millions of bats.

He came back, made a ladder out of fencing wire and branches, and went down more than 200 feet to explore on his own. He almost lost his mind, which I can understand. (They did a black-out on the guided tour, and whew, talk about dark.)

It took him over 20 years to get other folks to come take a look. You know what finally did it? He invited a photographer down and, well, the rest is history.

Give Sony a kiss for me.

Me










Dear Mom,

I took lots of pictures of the whole trip, which I’ll show you when I get back. The Caverns were my favorite part, but we also rode an old paddle boat down the Pecos River at night. (I didn’t know it flowed all the way down here.)

People who live on the riverbank set up holiday lights and fancy displays; it’s called “Christmas on the Pecos.” (Although, we went late, the 8:15 tour, and it was so cold on the boat, we couldn’t feel our toes. Jim and I called it “Torture on the Pecos,” but just as an insider joke. We really did love it.)

Thanks for taking care of Sony. I’m sure she’s enjoying it. We’ll be in late to pick her up. More then.

yb






-related to post: The Dying Art Of Letter Writing (Postcards From The Edge)

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hope change hope, A Fourth Street resident in Albuquerque expresses wishes for the ’08 presidential elections, photo © 2008 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.




My daughters are in on it now. This weekend, driving down Fourth Street in Albuquerque’s north valley, Em points one out.

“Mom, we just passed a really good sign.”

“Was it worth stopping for?” I ask her.

“Yes, yes!”

I pull over, wait for the cars behind me to pass, then do a U-ey. She’s right, this one is gorgeous.

Here’s what we’re noticing as we drive around town. People in the central Rio Grande Valley are expressing their support for Barack Obama in very creative ways. Signs are cropping up everywhere—and not just your ordinary signs. We’re seeing oodles of the large Hope sign that features the bold graphic of Obama’s face. And we’re seeing handmade forms of political expression into which people are putting time, energy, beauty, and humor.

All along the main roads in Albuquerque’s north valley, as well as Corrales, you can see ‘em. Yes, there are plenty of your standard political signs for both sides, but the ones we’re stopping to admire and photograph are standout.

Maybe it’s because New Mexico is a battleground state. In the 2000 presidential elections, Al Gore squeaked by with less than 500 votes. In 2004, Bush won by only 6,000 votes. And in the 2008 Democratic primaries, it took a week before the winner was declared. (Hillary won by about 1,700 votes.)

We get serious about our races in this state, and this year Albuquerque and Corrales—two cities in the central Rio Grande Valley—are working hard to make New Mexico “blue.”

Personally, I’m knocking on doors in historically “red” precincts, and even though it’s not my favorite type of work (last election, homeowners nearly chased me off their lawns by election day) I’m still putting myself out there.

And I can tell you this. Deep in my gut, I know that NM will, indeed, be “blue” this election. I feel it in my bones.

Here are five completely non-scientific reasons why:

  1. The signs. No one ever got this into it in 2004. No one seemed to do anything more than slap a machine-made yard sign in front of a wall. The signs we’re seeing this round tell me something about the level of passion people have—they’re going out of their way to express themselves.
  2. At an early vote rally on the day after early voting began, about 100 Obama supporters and I stood with signs on one of the busiest street corners in one of the most conservative precincts around, and we got a surprisingly large number of thumbs-up, high-fives, and cheers from passing cars. Yes, we heard and saw a few obscenities, but the positives far outweighed the negatives.
  3. Going door-to-door in a “red” district, I’m seeing a lot of Obama signs (ordinary garden variety) and I’m hearing people say, “Yes, you can count on our support!” Some of these folks are NM’s version of so-called “Dixie-crats,” Democrats who in the past few elections have voted based on so-called “culture” issues. One guy came out and said, “I don’t like homosexuals, gun control, or abortions, but I like Obama.” On my most recent round of canvassing, I even ran into Republican couple who said, “We’re done with the Republicans; we’re voting Democrat.”
  4. I’ve gone from being a nervous Nellie to having hope. I worked the 2004 elections and I can tell, something is different this time ’round. I’m proud to wear my Obama buttons and drive around with my “Obamanos” bumper sticker on my car. Last election, people flipped me off when they saw my Kerry bumper sticker. I got to where I cowered over my political expression. All that fear is gone today.
  5. Finally, my kids tell me that most of their friends are voting for Obama. Of course, my kids’ friends can’t vote, but their parents can. I have a feeling these young’ins are echoing their parents’ preferences.



So there you have it. I see hope on the ground, and I feel hope in my heart.

Now let’s go make it happen.
  

 

 



-Related to post WRITING TOPIC – WHY I VOTE.

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Antique Stove (Fire), D.H. Lawrence Ranch, near Taos, New Mexico, February 2007, photo © 2007-2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.Antique Cooler (Metal), D.H. Lawrence Ranch, near Taos, New Mexico, February 2007, photo © 2007-2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.View From The Lawrence Ranch (Air), D.H. Lawrence Ranch, near Taos, New Mexico, February 2007, photo © 2007-2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.Frieda Lawrence's 1930s Home (Wood), D.H. Lawrence Ranch, near Taos, New Mexico, February 2007, photo © 2007-2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.
Turtle Window, D.H. Lawrence Ranch, near Taos, New Mexico, February 2007, photo © 2007-2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.OKeeffe From A Distance, D. H. Lawrence Ranch, near Taos, New Mexico, February 2007, photo © 2007-2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.Memory Of Georgia (Earth), D. H. Lawrence Ranch, near Taos, New Mexico, February 2007, photo © 2007-2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.Attention To Detail, D. H. Lawrence Ranch, near Taos, New Mexico, February 2007, photo © 2007-2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Elements: Fire, Air, Earth, Metal, Water, & Wood, Kiowa, the D. H. Lawrence Ranch near Taos, New Mexico, February 2007, all photos © 2007-2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.



I have lived most of my life near major rivers: the Savannah, the Susquehanna, the Clark Fork, Bitterroot, and Blackfoot rivers that run through the deep mountain valley of Missoula, Montana. But for the last 24 years, home has been near the Mississippi in a Midwest state that boasts the river’s birthplace – Lake Itasca, Minnesota.

Liz and I explored Itasca State Park a few years ago and stood at the source, the Mississippi Headwaters, on root clusters of some of the oldest Red and White Pines in this country. Closer to my Southern roots, I recently started reading Mark Twain’s Life on the Mississippi, part of The Family Twain published in 1935, an original volume bought at a garage sale last summer.

If you follow the river’s flow, you will gain a whole new respect for Samuel Langhorne Clemens (Mark Twain) who published more than 30 books, hundreds of short stories and essays, and gave lectures while touring the world. That’s part of the reason my ears perked up at a recent NPR piece, Finding Finn, when I heard writer Jon Clinch plea for financial support to help preserve the financially-strapped Mark Twain Home in Hartford, Connecticut.


Clinch, author of Finn, and a host of other writers gathered at the home in September and read from some of their favorite Twain books to show their support. The list of authors included such heavy hitters as Tom Perrotta (The Abstinence Teacher), David Gates (Jernigan), Arthur Phillips (Angelica), Tasha Alexander (Elizabeth: The Golden Age), Philip Beard (Dear Zoe), Kristy Kiernan (Matters of Faith), Robert Hicks (The Widow of the South), and Amy Mackinnon (Tethered).

Maybe you’re thinking, what’s this got to do with me?

Everything. Maybe for you, it’s not Mark Twain. But have you ever seen Georgia O’Keeffe’s paintings, then longed to visit Abiquiú or the Pedernal near Ghost Ranch, New Mexico? It throws a whole other perspective on a lifetime of painted desert. What about Hemingway’s early days in Kansas City, Missouri. Or Flannery O’Connor’s childhood home in Savannah, Georgia.



D. H. Lawrence Cabin at Kiowa, the Lawrence Ranch near Taos, New Mexico, February 2007, photo © 2007-2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.



Maybe for you, it’s visiting the home architect Frank Lloyd Wright built, Fallingwater near Mill Run, Pennsylvania, or a few nights in the Willa Cather room at the Mabel Dodge Luhan House (did you know ybonesy’s dad worked there one summer as a teenager?) in Taos, New Mexico. We had one red Ravine Guest who dreamed about the home of Frida Kahlo. It was such a powerful experience, she felt compelled to travel to Mexico and see it for herself.

Why? Because Place matters. Ground where writers, painters, architects, artists and visionaries lived, worked, and died matters. The places we call Home shape who we are, who we want to be, who we will become. North, South, East, or West, the geography of land, water, and sky influences our work, filters into our vision, helps us hone our craft, whether we are aware of it or not. And the preservation of these places is paramount to our own development as writers and artists.



Turtle Window, D.H. Lawrence Ranch, near Taos, New Mexico, February 2007, photo © 2007-2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.OKeeffe From A Distance, D. H. Lawrence Ranch, near Taos, New Mexico, February 2007, photo © 2007-2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.Memory Of Georgia (Earth), D. H. Lawrence Ranch, near Taos, New Mexico, February 2007, photo © 2007-2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.Attention To Detail, D. H. Lawrence Ranch, near Taos, New Mexico, February 2007, photo © 2007-2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.



While researching On Providence, Old Journals and Thoreau, I stumbled on the Walden Woods Project which was founded in 1990 by recording artist Don Henley. At the time, 60% of Walden Woods – a 2,680 acre ecosystem surrounding Thoreau’s Walden Pond – was protected from development. But two large tracts of land were endangered when developers sought to construct an expansive office and condominium complex in the mid-1980s. The National Trust for Historic Preservation twice listed Walden Woods as one of America’s Eleven Most Endangered Historic Places.

But the story has a happy ending. The Walden Woods Project embarked on a national campaign to raise public awareness and the funds necessary to purchase and preserve the endangered areas. In January 1991, the Project bought the 25-acre tract that had been slated for the development; a few years later, the second tract of land was acquired. Since then, they’ve protected 150 acres in and around Walden Woods and provided quality programming for hundreds of researchers and more than 200 high school teachers and students.

Just Sitting, D. H. Lawrence Chair at Kiowa, the Lawrence Ranch near Taos, New Mexico, February 2007, photo © 2007-2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.



I’ve walked around Walden Pond, stood in the doorway to Thoreau’s cabin. I’ve been to Hibbing, Minnesota, in the living room of Bob Dylan’s childhood home. And a few years ago, ybonesy and I took a day trip to Kiowa, the D. H. Lawrence Ranch outside of Taos, New Mexico. The place was given to Lawrence and Frieda by Mabel Dodge Luhan. Dorothy Brett lived there for a time using Aldous Huxley’s typewriter to type Lawrence’s manuscripts.

Georgia O’Keeffe sat under the giant pine outside the Lawrence cabin and immortalized it in paint forever. Would you rather read about the Lawrence Tree? Or touch its barky skin, slide your feet through the pine needle beds beneath it, stare upside down at the New Mexico stars and sky.


To be able to go back to the place a writer or artist worked and lived is an inspiration. The authors calling attention to Mark Twain’s home in Hartford are sounding the alarm. Not everyone has the resources to donate money, but we can all work to raise awareness by spreading the word. Or visit the homes of writers and artists in the areas where we live and travel.

Those who blazed the trail before us are our mentors. For Jon Clinch, it’s Mark Twain. He’s willing to donate time, money, and energy to save Twain’s home and preserve the literary legacy of place. Who is it for you?




New Mexico Homesteaders, D. H. Lawrence Ranch, near Taos, New Mexico, February 2007, photo © 2007-2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.Corrugated Ice (Water), D. H. Lawrence Ranch, near Taos, New Mexico, February 2007, photo © 2007-2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.Love Triangles, D. H. Lawrence Ranch, near Taos, New Mexico, February 2007, photo © 2007-2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.



The Mark Twain House & Museum
351 Farmington Avenue
Hartford, CT 06105
860-247-0998



Other links to explore:


-posted on red Ravine, Friday, October 24th, 2008

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Taos Mountain, behind the Mabel Dodge Luhan House, Taos, New Mexico, February 2007, photo © 2007-2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Taos Mountain, behind the Mabel Dodge Luhan House, Taos, New Mexico, February 2007, photo © 2007-2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.











thousands of years pass
summer, winter, spring, and fall
where mountain meets sky











-posted on red Ravine, Thursday, October 23rd, 2008

-related to post: haiku (one-a-day)

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Ready for Take-Off, this angel baby pooch stops to pose before marching on in the Harvest Festival Pet Parade, photos © 2008 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.



Every year in early fall, our little village holds a Harvest Festival. This used to be a farming community, and although many fields have turned into big houses with lawns, you can still find acres of apple orchards and corn and chile crops. Not to mention the good-sized gardens and non-commercial farms that produce a bounty of fruits and vegetables. It’s definitely a time to celebrate.


My favorite part of the Harvest Festival, hands down, is the Pet Parade. The first year Jim and I moved here, we heard that the festival always kicked off with a parade for pets down the main road in the village. I’d never been in a parade before, and something inside me was hankering to walk with our dog, Roger, as observers lining the street cheered and clapped wildly.

I tied a red paisley handkerchief around Roger’s neck and headed to the staging area where parade participants were gathering with dogs, cats, goats, chickens, turkeys, and horses.

Roger, of course, was chomping at the bit. This was the most exciting thing to happen in his life, too. He pulled me from one animal to another, sniffing the spray paint on their coats and their silly wigs, hats, tu-tus, flower arrangements, polka dots, shoes, and tuxedos. Clearly, Roger was underdressed, and I towered two feet above the tallest human participant.

Still, we marched. We smiled and waved. We posed when Jim snapped our photo and then watched him stagger off holding his stomach from laughing so hard.


Nowadays, entire families march in the Pet Parade. This year there was a “wench wagon” with showgirls dressed in velvet corsets sitting in a horse-drawn carriage. (Forget the kids and pets, I’m taking my bosom to the parade!)

There’s still the odd assortment of animals. One year I saw an iguana in its glass terrarium atop a chariot, looking like Cleopatra. This year my favorite was the Chicken-Mobile (a chicken perched on a Playskool car) and the weiner taco (weiner dog in a taco shell). The goat in a straw hat was a stand-out, too.

After the parade everyone scattered for other parts of the festival. Some headed to the food court—all that clapping worked up an appetite for turkey legs and Indian tacos—while others jumped on hay wagons heading in the direction of the three-mile-long corn maze.

We made our way to the Old Church and Casa San Ysidro, where we bought tamales and burritos from a woman who scooped extra ladles of red chile meat onto your plate if you asked.

We took our food to a bench under an old quince tree and talked about how cool it would have been to take Azul and the Toms, or Sony, Otis, Rafael, or even Baby to the Pet Parade.

There was a time when I wouldn’t have given it a second thought. Maybe next year.





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Half Shadow, Half Light, Minneapolis, Minnesota, Fall Equinox, September 2007, photo © 2007-2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.Green Loves Blue, Minneapolis, Minnesota, Fall Equinox, September 2007, photo © 2007-2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Blue Rock, Minneapolis, Minnesota, Fall Equinox, September 2007, photo © 2007-2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.Equinox Goddess (Turning), Minneapolis, Minnesota, Fall Equinox, September 2007, photo © 2007-2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Equinox Goddess (Turning), Half Shadow, Half Light, Blue Rock, Green Loves Blue, Minneapolis, Minnesota, Fall Equinox, September 2007, photo © 2007-2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.



It is the Fall Equinox. The veils between the worlds are thinner. There is an opening that allows us to consciously engage the Doorways to the Mysteries — to set intentions. Clarity — what do you want to come to pass in your life? Twice each year, no matter where we are on this Earth, the Sun rises and sets exactly over the Equator, tracking exactly due East and due West.


According to Cayelin K Castell at Shamanic Astrology, the Ancients knew what they were doing when they built an Equinox corridor in Chaco Canyon:


The ancient architects and builders of Chaco Canyon (in New Mexico) were inspired to build what is essentially now explained as some sort of equinox corridor in their main building complex. This corridor marks the equinox Sunrise, tracks the Sun’s journey through the sky, and then marks the equinox Sun set. This corridor was designed to capture the So Below experience of this As Above bi-annual event, giving us another potent clue about the importance of this seasonal timing. This understanding may inspire each of us to tune in and discover what significance the equinox timings represent for us individually and collectively.


It only takes a few steps into Chaco Canyon to realize the Ancient Peoples, the Land and the mythology, are as grounded and rooted as they are otherworldly. But are we living in such different times now? Doesn’t every day offer us the opportunity for forgiveness, for mercy, for compassion? For one more chance to embrace our better selves?


There were no formerly heroic times, and there was no formerly pure generation. There is no one here but us chickens, and so it has always been:  a people busy and powerful, knowledgeable, ambivalent, important, fearful, and self-aware; a people who scheme, promote, deceive, and conquer; who pray for their loved ones, and long to flee misery and skip death.

It is a weakening and discoloring idea, that rustic people knew God personally once upon a time — or even knew selflessness or courage or literature — but that it is too late for us. In fact, the absolute is available to everyone in every age. There never was a more holy age than ours, and never a less.  

- Annie Dillard, from For The Time Being, Chapter Three, Random House, 1999


The year has seemed chaotic, serious, negative, uncertain. In this country, we are in the middle of a tense election process, the war in Iraq drags on, and towering financial structures are crumbling around us. But we have to keep going. Every piece of shadow that covers a crack in the sidewalk is an opening — because it also covers the mineral, the gem.

Maybe the Philosopher’s Stone is buried. Maybe it hasn’t seen the light of day in 3 million years. It doesn’t matter. We all have access to everything that came before us. And I agree with Annie – there is no time like Now.


There is no less holiness at this time — as you are reading this — than there was the day the Red Sea parted, or that day in the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, on the fifth day of the month, as Ezekiel was a captive by the river Chebar, when the heavens opened and he saw visions of God.

There is no whit less enlightenment under the tree by your street than there was under the Buddha’s bo tree. There is no whit less might in heaven or on earth than there was the day Jesus said “Maid, arise” to the centurion’s daughter, or the day Peter walked on water, or the night Mohammed flew to heaven on a horse.

In any instant the sacred may wipe you with its finger. In any instant the bush may flare, your feet may rise, or you may see a bunch of souls in a tree. In any instant, you may avail yourself of the power to love your enemies; to accept failure, slander, or the grief of loss; or to endure torture.

Purity’s time is always now.

– Annie Dillard, from For The Time Being, Chapter Three, Random House, 1999


-posted on red Ravine on the Fall Equinox, Monday, September 22nd, 2008

-related to post: 8 Minutes

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Ghost Ranch Labyrinth, with prayer rocks under Kitchen Mesa, Ghost Ranch, NM, August 2, 2008, photos © 2008 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.









with right foot forward
in step with the searing heat
we walk in circles















prayer for healing
prayer to Kitchen Mesa
slow walk of courage











-related to posts haiku (one-a-day), Labyrinth Walker, and labyrinth haiku.

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