Saturday, March 6, 2010

That's a last look at Humphrey's Peak from the northwest view below. You'll have to figure out what the rest are from description below. sorry, rushing. Will post pics from desert museum, including one of a Joshua Tree, which I'd never seen before. And many many cacti in flower, apparently during El Nino years, like this year, rains come early and heavy to the desert and Aprill blooms in March (aren't WE lucky! I really felt blessed.)

Must post before I get too far behind. I will edit it later when I get more time. Thursday our agenda included a visit to the Montezuma Castle site outside Camp Verde. For T, the cultural anthropoligist, it was a particular treat. It's a beautiful, naturally well maintained pueblo ruin with small but very together museum that explained the archaeological history of the place along Beaver Creek and the native peoples who inhabited it B.C. as well as A.D. We learned much about the local flora cause the guides were so informed, conversational and cheerful about storytelling, cute too (my age!).

You had to give it to these people who created the cliff dwellings; they just kinda took what was already there, steep cliffs with ready- made overhangs for a roof and deep indentations in the limestone (sediment of a fresh water prehistoric sea) formed by weather, and slapped outside walls on the place made out of adobe. Pretty efficient. Build into what's already there, go with the flow, as it were. They started at the bottom with a ground floor and over the years added on. No trips to Home Depot required, just use what's around. My kinda folks. Like forts you build as a kid. Only whoa better. As in: they last. We were completely enchanted by the place and the rush of water from Beaver Creek nearby made you just want to sit on the bench and stay there forever... staring. Learned about the stunning Arizona Sycamores, hackberry bush, and a dozen other plants and trees.

Loved it mucho.

On to Tucson and the steep slide into lower elevations and the first hints of cactus country. Those crazy saguaros and their "issues" as T calls them, manifest by their wonky arms that now and then splay in bizarre directions, oozing questions that reveal unresolved issues and neuroses in need of serious attention, or admission of utter failure. (Projection here? nah. Pics above) Then on to Phoenix (or Fleanix as we used to call it when I lived out here) was just endless mallness and multilane highway. LIke the cop says: nothing to see here, folks. Move along. But WARM? Yeah, open the window and let yer bare feet flutter in the breeze! (Provided you are not driving.) We spent the night in Tucson at La Siesta motel, a retro place, well run with nice beds but way too close to traffic and the occasional train. I didn't remember the 10,000 ft. Mt. Lemon as being that high, but there she was, snow covered and floating in 80 degree weather in the valley. I must say Tucson struck me as a bit insane, the city that is. The area around the Uni is not longer as it was 40 years ago. It felt like some kind of Dionysian nightmare created just to attract party animals, University St. Kinda pissed me off. That used to be a really nice area. I had trouble finding any landmark I could recognize. Even El Charro is a chain restaurant now. We managed to find a nice Guatemalan meal on 4th Avenue but that was about it. Mostly 'college kid' food. The traffic made me impatient, other drivers not so friendly. And the destruction of old neighborhoods in a blatant pander to the partying mentality is heartbreaking, but seems to permeate much of american business decisions these days. They'll regret it, I've no doubt. I keep hearing Cormac McCarthy in my head: This is no country for old men. I know exactly what he means by that.

Next day on to the Sonora Desert museum and wasn't that a pleasure to stop and just spend a day wandering the desert. It's an amazing place, not to be missed. We ran out of ram for pics, just another world altogether out there: the hummingbird aviary, the regular bird aviary, you can get right up close to them, they are fearless. The underground part with the little foxes in their dens and other nocturnal creatures is dark and cool, there are separate areas to study cacti, succulents, agaves, yet they all grow together. The flower sections are... well, i can't rave enough. LIke landing on another planet really. Something we'd all like to do from time to time. I recall when I lived out here how much I loved that.

I wanted T to see my favorite church in the world (I have not been to greece though): the mission San Xavier de Bac, 17th century out in the desert on the other side of the Tucson Mts. I'll just post pics for now. But what you see is all faux painting. The early folks couldn't afford marble and mosaic tile so they painted it, and it is gorgeous ... rich and evocative. A very spiritual place in the middle of a flat desert plain. A guy from the Guggenheim is in charge of restoration, which has gone on for years. Out of time this morning... on to laundromat and breakfast, then maybe Silver City. (We decided to head back into NM so spent the night here in Lordsburg at Best Western, very well run motel, nice folks too.) Gotta go check my weather now.

One of these days i just have to do my toes. They look like they've been run over by a truck.

Later alligators...