Wednesday, June 29, 2011

It never rains in San Francisco?

The spirits of San Francisco come greeting cloaked in rain... Nighthawks have a good time with food and wine and the waiter at Tosca ready to close up after we left.

With talk at the Specs about poetry, poets  and books
meeting new people, warm embrace
the meaning and urgency of words
And then again the night and touched by light.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Old miners day

Old Miners day intended to honor the miners who lay at the origin of the small community of Chloride. In 1916, since the price of minerals was high, Chloride boomed. More than 2000 people living there, some sources say almost 4000 people. The parades over the years became smaller and less mining directed. The main group portraying miners were the E-Clampus-Vitus, The Lost Dutchman Chapter, a Historic Drinking Society or a Drinking Historic Society. Through humor they try to preserve the past and are respected throughout the West for their selfless efforts. Of course the Western reenactors where present and added to the fun: The Long coats and lace and the Wild Roses and even a group called The old West from Kingman.

The real hero is the fire brigade who was supposed to be in the parade but got called out to douse a fire. So the truck stood at the corner of the parade and the firemen watched it, taking of their warm protective gear. The old cars were great yet the cutest group was the kids with the goats and dogs and horses.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

More Grand Canyon

Take your time give it to the Grand Canyon, avoid the over populated places. The first time I visited the canyon I went to the visitors center, saw the movie, read the warning signs and was totally bewildered at what it meant: take two gallons of water per person , wear sturdy shoes - while I saw people on flip-flops without water venturing down the trail. Understanding the desert so many years later, I get what the dangers of the canyon are. Extreme temperatures, high winds, steep ravines, slippery paths. Yet the beauty of survival and death, weathered trees is breathtaking.

Who or what is responsible for all this: Father Time, Sister River, Rains and droughts and winds, frost and snow, heat and dust... and the pitter patter of feet en hoofs and pats, the elk, mountain lions and chipmunk all contribute to the slow splendorous decay of a high plateau which used to be an ocean.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Desert View: Watchtower at the Grand Canyon

 Ann Coulter not only was responsible for the Museum of Northern Arizona, but also for la Possada in Winslow and the Watchtower at Desert View, on the desert View drive, either from Flagstaff or the visitor center in the Grand Canyon. Her buildings harbor you, make you feel good. Her sense of place and material is wonderful.

In the watchtower, and in the other buildings I have seen, she uses strong local materials incorporating all the variations she can find: slate, pebbles, rocks.
Elements of surprise are petroglyphs, natural statues, wood, whatever would give the building  beauty and substance. 
I should have called this post Room with a View. She chooses cut outs, interesting perspectives and even adapts the shape of the windows to the landscape. That is respect for the spirits of the place. Her windows draw you out and immerse  you in the grand beauty of nature.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Museum of Northern Arizona

The Museum of Northern Arizona just out of Flagstaff in its idyllic surroundings is a soul-soothing stop when one is in need of nourishment. The archaeological work supported and shown by the museum, the changing exhibitions, always centered on the regional nations : Hopi, Navajo, Zuni, Hualapai, Havasupai and other Pai people.  Beautiful ancient pottery, jewelry in its distinctive  styles, a partial mural of an ancient Hopi kiva. All that is there.

The museum is nestled  on the high plateau leading up to the Grand Canyon. Ann Coulter's famous and bold South western architecture is still instrumental in making it look and feel like it is just perfectly balanced in it's surroundings.
Navajo rugs, which I'll never be able to afford do please my eyes. And of course the bookshop is well stocked, so one can find some contemporary Navajo and Hopi poetry by Luci Tapahonso and by Ramson Lomawatewa. The heritage program features dances and programs from Hopi, Zuni and Navajo. Saturday 25, You can enjoy  Hopi dances at the Museum.
Typical representation of Hopi, Navajo and Zuni.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Laundry day

For a very temporary resident in this desert  laundry day requires finding a friend who has a washing machine and possibly a dryer. The friend wasn't in, so I chased her down at the communal coffee table
of Lean who tries to keep this small town together.  Like in redneck country the washer and the dryer stands outside under a tin roof. Part of the back wall had been taken out  because a beehive had installed itself in the wall of the house, honey making drip marks on the siding. Hot or cold water, not that simple, but finally all works. Then the dryer, and old Maytag from a Laundromat, one put in 3 quarters and waits. Talking and listening and rabbits and a roadrunner made the waiting short.
As you can gather from the pictures the sun, aided by the wind and some artwork,  had to do the rest.
Fluffing and folding of the travel gear done by your blogger while remembering that a lady living in town told me one day that when she first rode into town, I had the laundry out somewhat like this and that she thought: in such a town I want to live...

© sms:foto duisburg/rhein 2011

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Corvette in the drive way

In the Corvette driveway
there it stands
all perfect she is -
not an it -
in red & white
& silver chrome

a photo-opportunity
for passers by

and every time
she smiles -

A friend of mine, Petra, saw the car about four years ago and now is the proud owner of her own Corvette in almost mint condition, driving it on the roads in Belgium.

Small rural towns

Rural yet not as in agriculture and pastures but as in old forlorn desert hamlets with between 200 and 300 inhabitants, some of them seasonal.
The door is open, people drop in. Meet Mike, Alaska Mike or Woodstock Mike. At age 13 he helped his dad Whitey Davis, who assisted Hanley Sound responsible for  the sound system. Mike with fingers painted orange, adjusted the speakers on the towers in the crowd and with the orange the sound mixer could see what he did or signaled with binoculars.
He had a youth without school, working as a roadie, making good money and partying with pa and the big guys. The names of the players, technicians, rental trucks (Reyders), type of motorcycles  driven (BSA's, Triumph's and Honda's, I seem to remember) and organizers who went broke and the names of musicians trip of his tongue.  He speaks of the security provided by the Red & White and so forth...  He is a font of information. His heart is in Woodstock and Alaska, yet in June's sweltering heat, the Mojave desert is his home.
On the snapshot he shows a picture a friend of his in Alaska did about duck hunting and feeling restless in that special period  of the year.
One day it will hang in a nice Western house in Washington State he assures me. His heart  and head is filled with wishes, dreams, memories and plans that fill and feed the soul.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The West lives on

What to say: the man got caught red-handed on film and it is his wife filming him fooling around with a floozy.
In this picture she turned bounty-hunter and doesn't wait to shoot, nor to collect the money from the sheriff.
The troupe, missing four actors reshuffled and redistributed roles and put up a fun performance.
In these small western towns one finds often Western Reenactment Groups, partially because they are history buffs, or also because it is just a good thing to do to create friendships and a sense of community over the generations. Special in the Longcoats and Lace is that a bit of background on the past is given as an introduction to the skids. The new actor had a hard start: he was shot in each one of the scenes...
The smiling Lady had her 80th birthday and still a dangerous schoolmarm. 
Tradition and black powder... in Chloride, AZ there are even two troops.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Route 66 II -Kingman-Hackberry-Seligman

I love the Route 66 in AZ: the steady change in the landscape, the sparse traffic consisting mainly of locals, aficionados and bikers.
I love the small places: funky Hackberry with its red and white Corvette, and the forlorn gas stations. Every time less and less. This time of two the pumps were gone.
I see Valentine's stone building and think about the Navajo and Hopi and Hualapai children brought here to be thought English and Religion as if not having any of their own.
Yet when in Seligman the saga, this boulevard of broken dreams, the myth is turned into a '50's theme park without a thought for those who out of dire need left family behind, home and hearthstone for an uncertain destination. Many fell by the wayside and staying where they fell they found alfe of menial jobs sometimes over several generations.
Yet living on Route 66 what destination is left to dream of? Can one get away from only candied past to pure present fed by a ream of doing. They may miss the majestic mountains, the long vista's, panorama and space? Do they wonder how much space there is at the golden shores?
The silence and loneliness of men staring in their beer.

I love the train, the Sante Fe, Atchinson and Topeka line meandering along the road.
I love the Route 66. It touches me by its tragic beauty & brass commercialism.

Yet it doesn't shine in everybody's eyes-

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Route 66 - Kingman to Oatman - get your kicks

 Route 66, carrier of dreams and hopes and also of loss and hardship.

In all kinds of vehicles people packed their belongings, their kids, their pets, the grown up sleeping under the car next to road and the kids in the car.
Once in Kingman  there was still the hard stretch to Oatman
They would pass on winding, narrow roads, going over mountains and passing the Goldmine road. Part of it still in operation today.

Yet danger awaited the travelers at every twist and turn. And if their car broke down, more often than not crooked mechanics would take advantage of the poor desperate people.
The road itself still holds its warnings for today's tourists. Unguarded cliffs, give a majestic view of these imposing multicolored mountains.
Yet once in town other risks still exist: the local residents, human and animal will try to take advantage of you in this one street tourist town with high noon shootouts, aegfrying on the asphalt contest and their donkeys.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Full moon in the Mojave Desert

 The moon moves fast
crawls out of the mountain
is on her way
this wandering sister

I see her trek
her rise
her arching back

and wonder whether the sea
of silence
is really still
or does the moon-wind
sing to sand
does the sand screech or howl
in the chase

or does all fall
on deaf ears
and does she so feel

her predictable
and the north star
as linchpin
to the turning
of the unheard movement
of the solace
of the sun

From one gas pump to a third in the time to write the poem...

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Mojave Desert in Bloom

 The winter was long and harsh in the Mojave Desert. Late frost squashed many blooms and the flowering is late.

From prickly pear cactus to hierba buena was flowering today

 Here half  of the plant dried up during winter yet the other half is alive and kicking. That to me is the lesson of the desert: life is precious and worth caring for.

 Walking through the foothills of the Cerbats, I am at once grounded in the here and now and enjoying and seeing the beauty and frailty of it all.
Old rusted plates from the old mining days have their function here. A quail thought it was the perfect protection for her covey of chicks.
 My eyes feasted on all the colors, from gentle to vibrant. Yet i thread carefully, since Arizona is known for its poisonous creatures: the most poisonous snake: the Mojave green rattlesnake, Gila monsters, scorpions... And also majestic birds of prey: Ravens, falcons, Hawks and  the sanitary service of the desert: the Turkey buzzards.
Hierba Buena is a powerful plant with healing properties for body and soul. If something is wrong with you, take a slow walk through the desert and you'll feel your strength return.

If you click on the pictures they open up for you.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Nashville to Chloride

From the wide open road through Virginia and Tennessee there was the fun and music in Nashville and a flight away  was Las Vegas and a long wait for our luggage.                                                                                                         

Friends offered a great oriental meal on the way  to the Mojave Desert which I supposed would bring quiet and peace and relaxation. Of course repairs have to be undertaken since after a harsh winter the water pipes are broken, the bushes and shrub stand high and there is the meeting of old neighbors and friends and meeting new folks who just stop by, drop in and chat. The stories of peoples lives unfold, their courage and resilience shines through. Their warmth and willingness to share is overwhelming because it speaks of trust. The desert itself unfolds a hidden beauty, fascinating in its sparseness, rich in its teachings of survival... for humans and beast. The hare is an art lover looking at a statue of Bob Stordahl.
all pictures by
© sms:foto duisburg/rhein 2011

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The first song of the CMA Awards Music Week in Nashville, TN

© sms:foto duisburg/rhein 2011
The start of the CMA Awards Festivities was at the Plaza of the Grand Ole Oprey. The first song was by Thomas Rhett: Something to do with my hands. Strong, compact, interesting lyrics was what he offered in the four songs to warm up the public. Rhett, singer, songwriter also performed: I don't know where I am going with this and What have you got in that cup  and Tobacco. A worthy start to a week of of high quality country and mountain music. His act was followed  by the auction of a guitar signed by many artists. It sold for 925 $. The proceeds go to helping Country artists who need it.

© sms:foto duisburg/rhein 2011
The main act Jerrod Niemann was as good and strong, pleasing the crowd enormously. His band had a few mean guitar players, one made the guitar sound like a violin...

Jerrod sang songs most fans in the crowd knew how to sing without any help. Good traditional songs, love and loss and gentle naughtiness. All in a positive way: A is for Alcohol, B is for beer, C for Mrs Carter, sleeping here... Good vibes were send out by Thomas Rhett and the star with a liberal stanze that Jarrod now is.
Without roadies, nothing goes. So lets salute these workers, before and after the performances.

And also the crowd has to be saluted, in their Country garb and attitudes. The music week has started in a pleasant way on a hot an sultry day in Nashville Tennessee.

500.000 Country Music fans are expected in Nashville:Enjoy, live the atmosphere.