Thursday, October 27, 2011

runnin' down a dream

Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.
John Muir (1838 -1914) naturalist, author, and wilderness activist

for anyone interested in a bit of armchair travel to the beautiful american southwest, today are the first two slide shows from my recent wander.

the first set of photos (31 snaps) are from zion national park - we visited zion exactly a week ago. at zion we drove to the park from kanab, utah (which was our 'home' for a couple days after leaving albuquerque). once we got to zion, we parked our car and utilized the park's shuttle system. during busy months the majority of the park is only accessible via the park's shuttle system. apparently these shuttles run in a few other of the country's popular national parks during tourist season - i think they are great - the manifest goal, of course, is to reduce traffic congestion and pollution; but i noticed the shuttle had a latent benefit by bringing people together the shuttle created a little temporary quasi-community. at zion shuttles ran every 15 minutes and go between many of the trailheads and other points of interest, visitors can jump on and off as many times as their little hearts desire.

zion was great - we hiked for several hours on a few of the parks many trails. even though it was a weekday and getting on in october there were plenty of people about - some groups, both school kids and adult tours, but also plenty of folks just on vacation like f and i. there were also along the narrows trail lots of very gregarious rock squirrels!

if you wish you can enlarge the slide shows, after hitting play and getting show to start click on arrow icon in the lower right corner of the screen.

the day after visiting zion we hit the road and traveled out of utah, into arizona and then back into utah.

after a couple stops and 225 miles east we ended up at monument valley tribal park.

the second show (18 photos) is from a drive we took through monument valley. the photo on the right is of me before we started off on the drive - you can see the park's famous two 'mittens' in the background. this photo isn't included in the slide show as it was taken with my cellphone! i can't believe how good it turned out - geez, who needs a big ol' camera when one can snap a photo as good as this with an itty bitty smart phone!

monument valley lies within the navajo nation reservation, the navajo name for the area is tsé biiʼ ndzisgaii, which means valley of the rocks. the area is designated as a navajo tribal park which is the navajo nation equivalent of a national park. one can either view monument valley from the highway (rt. 163) for free or pay a small fee (i'm pretty sure it was $10 for the two of us) in order to drive through the area. we elected to do the latter - and it was good thing i planned ahead and rented a high clearance vehicle, the dirt road through the park was very rough; if one wasn't careful one could do significant damage driving a regular car on the dirt road (it would be criminal to put a paved road through the park, so dirt road it ought to be!) there were other options to get up close and personal to the huge sandstone masterpieces - one could opt for a vehicular guided tour (we saw plenty of these going through - basically they were conducted with those safari type vehicles) or one could take a horse-riding tour - that could be fun if i wasn't terrified of getting thrown off a horse (despite my fondness for animals, i don't seem to have an affinity for horseback riding). i understand there are aerial tours (plane or hot-air balloon) but we didn't see any of those the afternoon we visited. for information on the park, visit the park's website.

after visiting monument valley we traveled north and east to cortez, colorado. on the way to cortez we passed through the small town of mexican hat, utah - named undoubtedly after the unique sombrero shaped rock nearby.

large photos not in slide show: top - maple leaves at zion national park, 20 october; middle photo- roadside view a few miles south of the entrance to monument valley tribal park; bottom photo - the curious mexican hat rock, 21 october, 2011

tom petty's perfect road trip song runnin' down a dream - the song was released in 1989 on petty's first solo album full moon fever. runnin' down a dream is also the title of a 2007 documentary that peter bogdanovich did on tom petty and the heartbreakers.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

yah ta hey!

With Beauty before me, may I walk.
With Beauty behind me, may I walk.
With Beauty above me, may I walk.
Wish beauty below me, may I walk.
With Beauty all around me, may I walk.
It is finished in beauty.
It is finished in Beauty.
Navaho prayer

mouse medicine returns and wall wednesday resumes...

reentry is underway -- who knows how long it will take before i get back into any kind of groove! it is astounding how things pile up when one is away. oh well, each thing in its own time.

f and i had a wonderful vacation to the american southwest. we started in albuquerque, after getting our vacation legs we hit the road in our rented jeep on a most spectacular wander. we spent time in new mexico, arizona, utah, and colorado - essentially making a big circle - as we ended up the night before we flew home back in albuqerque. i can't believe how much we packed in in just nine day: we hiked national and tribal parks and monuments, explored museums, visited friends, ate some incredible food, and met and spoke with all sorts of interesting folks.

and yes, i was a snapping fool - given that i use a digital camera, it's difficult to say exactly how many photos i took since i delete the obvious rejects at the end of each day. even with that practice i downloaded nearly 850 photos yesterday. now i need to take some time to organize them - my goal is to put together a flickr set for each place we visited. when i get the albums together, i'll give a shout out, just in case anyone is interested in a bit of armchair travel to chaco canyon, zion national park, monument valley, hovenweep national monument , and the interesting miscellany in-between. hopefully, my photos will stimulate a little wanderlust and maybe others will wish to make a pilgrimage to some of these these incredible places.

both of today's walls are from the same building which was close to the hotel we stayed at in albuquerque. this building is located on the corner of 8th street and central avenue. by the way, if you do get to albuquerque and need a place to stay, i heartily recommend the hotel blue - it is located in downtown albuquerque; it is reasonably priced, is clean with comfy beds, offers a nice complementary breakfast with decent coffee (decent hotel/motel coffee is very hard to come across in my experience!) and has a friendly and helpful staff.

yah ta hey is a navajo greeting - similar to aloha it can mean hello or goodbye. on our way to window rock, arizona, which incidently is the government seat for the the navajo nation, we drove through a small community named yah-ta-hey - the photo below is of a smoke shop along rt. 264 which shares its name with the community.

r. carlos nakai and his song kokopeli wind from his 1989 album canyon trilogy. nakai is a native american flautist of navajo-ute heritage. nakai does tour, click on the link above to his website if interested in experiencing his music live - for instance, this coming weekend he will be performing in philadelphia!

Friday, October 14, 2011

z is for zinnia

A bee is never as busy as it seems; it's just that it can't buzz any slower.

Kin Hubbard (1868-1930) cartoonist & humorist

zinnias are such a happy flower!

i'm not the only one smitten with zinnias, vincent painted quite a few still lives featuring zinnias back in the day. below is just one of van gogh's zinnia paintings this still life: vase with zinnias was painted in 1888 in arles and is now in switzerland.

more zinnias and more zinnias by vincent

my goal was to put the alphabet to rest before i zoom off. it's nice to make a goal - especially considering that this week has been absolutely crazy

i look forward to visiting a few z places - the zion national park and the pueblo of zuni to name a couple.

z is also for zzzzzz

a snoozing bingo and a new (snoozing) pup in the hood!

see you later alligator!

zz top new song flying high (2011)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

y is for yin & yang

Heaven is born of activity and Earth is born of tranquility. The interaction of activity and tranquility gives full development to the Way of Heaven and Earth. At the first appearance of activity, yang is produced. As activity reaches its limit, yin is produced. The interaction of yin and yang gives full development to the functions of Heaven. At the first appearance of tranquility, the element of weakness is produced. When weakness reaches its limit, the element of strength is produced. The interaction of these two elements gives full development to the functions of Earth. Greater activity is called major yang, while greater tranquility is called major yin. Lesser activity is called minor yang, while lesser tranquility is called minor yin. Major yang constitutes the sun; major yin, the moon; lesser yang, the stars; and lesser yin, the zodiacal spaces. The interaction of the sun, moon, stars, and zodiacal spaces gives full development to the substance of Heaven. Greater tranquility is called major weakness, while lesser tranquility is called minor weakness. Greater activity is called major strength, while lesser activity is called minor strength. Lesser weakness constitutes water; major strength, fire; lesser weakness, earth; and lesser strength, stone. The interaction of water, fire, soil, and stone gives full development to substance of Earth.
Shao Yong (1011-1077) philosopher, cosmologist, poet

tattoo tuesday continues.

the human canvas for today's body art is a fellow named paul - i met paul at this year's hessler street fair. in addition to the yin and yang, paul's arm include is a buddha figure in a yoga position, a band with the message "we are all connected" spelled out in a double helix pattern, and what appears to be an interpretation of the hamsa hand.

love and rockets performing yin and yang and the flowerpot man from their 1986 studio album express

photo: may 2011, cleveland

Monday, October 10, 2011

x is for xim

Beware the ends of the earth and the exotic: the drama is on your doorstep wherever the slums; are, wherever there is malnutrition, wherever there is exploitation and cruelty.
John Grierson (1898-1972) pioneering documentary filmmaker

last week i went out to dinner with some friends to sergio's sarava, a local brazilian restaurant which serves up the most excellent fare.

when i was deciding what to get i immediately went to the section of the menu titled flavors of brasil, when i read the description for xim xim, i knew exactly what i wanted!
a slow-braised stew with morsels of free-range chicken and gulf shrimp, peppers, tomato, carrots, palm oil, coconut milk, and malaguetta pepper. Served over
Brazilian rice, and topped with roasted peanuts.
the combination of flavors was amazing, i have since done a little research on the word xim xim and have learned that brazilian dish has its roots in west africa.

star war geeks may recall that a single xim is the name of the tyrannical ruler, xim the despot, who before the rise of the galactic republic,reigned over an interstellar empire in the tion cluster. ximology is a branch of scholarship devoted to the empire of xim.

then there is the xim xaus, which in case you didn't know is a hmong violin

Sunday, October 9, 2011

w is for wish

I believe in God, but not as one thing, not as an old man in the sky. I believe that what people call God is something in all of us. I believe that what Jesus and Mohammed and Buddha and all the rest said was right. It's just that the translations have gone wrong.
John Lennon (9 october 1940 - 8 december 1980) musician, artist, activist

the photo above is a detail from the wish tree for washington dc, a wonderful art installation which was a gift from the artist yoko ono. the entire tree is seen on the right.

the tree lives in the hirshhorn museum sculpture garden. the tree was installed in 2007 - at the time it was one of ten wish trees yoko planted around washington. it is the only tree of the ten which remains in washington.

the washington tree is one of many trees that yoko has installed around the world as part of her peace project which is called imagine peace, a tribute to john and a reference to his album and song.

from june through september, the hirshhorn provides pencils and small tags where visitors can write their wishes and hang them on the tree. on a regular basis exhibit staff or volunteers harvest the tags -- the tags are sent to the imagine peace tower in iceland where they become part of a large collection of wishes from all over the world.

it was wondrous to read the wishes that people wrote. there are many wishes for world peace, good health, success, and finding love; but, there were wee wishes too....

in the cold weather months, visitors are encouraged to whisper wishes to the tree -- hanging tags on the trees during cold months would injure the tree.

whispering wishes makes me think of another sculpture in the hirshhorn garden, last conversation piece, by spanish artist juan muñoz which is shown below

john's song watching the wheels was one of the last songs john wrote. it was released just three weeks before his murder on john and yoko's double fantasy album.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

part 2: v is for voice

Let us heed the voice of the people and recognize their common sense. If we do not, we not only blaspheme our political heritage, we ignore the common ties that bind all Americans.

Barbara Jordan (1936-1996) politician, civil rights activist

inspired by the letter v, i offer a few snaps from today's visit to the occupy cleveland encampment (remember you can enlarge the slideshow by running your cursor over the image and clicking on the arrow icon in lower right corner of slide show).

on wednesday 281 cities were registered as having occupy together meetups, this evening the website for the occupy together movement reports that there are now 1,040 cities. these actions are springing up throughout the u.s. of a. (and the world) in solidarity with occupy wall street! our voices are raised and we have gone viral!!

i just finished watching the first part of marty's george harrison documentary (IT'S GREAT) to wit i offer come together, a classic beatles song - i know the song wasn't written by george, but tomorrow is john's birthday!

v is for vanity

Always first draw fresh breath after outbursts of vanity and complacency.
Franz Kafka (1883 - 1924) writer

in my vanders i view virginia as a vanity plate vortex - i swear there are more vanity plates in virginia than any place else. however, i have yet to verify my impression.

we can thank my niece nina for this very vunderbar find - VO1DMRT! even though he who must not be named, i guess it is viable to plaster the name on a vehicle. i wonder if this guy drives the vehicle with the voldemort - maybe, he does live in virginia! i'm not alone in giving he who should not be named this name of endearment; however, according to this article others compare him to darth vadar along with a few other villains.

looking for vanity plates, aka personalized license tags, is one of my simple pleasures - on my other blog, the lakewood daily snap, i celebrate vanity plates each week -- this little obsession started in january 2010, however, all the plates on the snap are local, alas none are from virginny!

carly simon's best known song you're so vain - this vid comes from a 1987 concert on martha's vineyard.

addendum saturday evening: i checked out the action at the occupy cleveland encampment this afternoon. i'm very encouraged by the diversity of the crowd (especially the young people!) and the visions expressed.

i've been praying for a gentle, peaceful revolution against business as usual for the last 40 years -maybe good things come to those that wait - and act!

there were some really terrific signs, the sign below fits perfectly with today's letter - v is also for vampire don't forget voldermort/vader's sidekick!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

u is for undone

We are spinning our own fates, good or evil, and never to be undone. Every smallest stroke of virtue or of vice leaves its never-so-little scar.
William James (1842 - 1910) philosopher and psychologist

i'm feeling a bit undone lately (even missed my usual wall wednesday photo!) - all is well just busy & having some unbelievably gorgeous weather - so, it's near up to impossible to find time for blogging. i feel i must get through the alphabet before i head off on my mid october wander - it would be unfortunate to return home and face unblogged letters!

according to the portal wally lamb chose the title for his 1992 novel from the guess who song undun. i've read three wally lamb novels - she's come undone (1992), i know this much is true (1999), and the hour i first believed (2008) -- each book was better than the one before it - which is saying a lot since the first book was utterly amazing!

i just discovered that lamb has a fourth novel which i haven't read -- only because i didn't know about it! the book is titled wishin' and hopin' and it sounds wonderful. unlike his usual tomes, this book is considered a novella - which is a bit unbelievable since it measures in at 288 pages - but, compared to 480, 928, and 752 pages for his early books, i can understand how a 288 page book may be considered a novella! don't let the length of wally's previous books unnerve you - in fact, the two longer books were so good i didn't want them to end.

she's come undone (also known as undun) written by randy bachman of the guess who, released on their 1969 album canned wheat.

photo: self portrait, september 2010

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

t is for touch

We must combine the toughness of the serpent with the softness of the dove, a tough mind and a tender heart.

Martin Luther King Jr. (1929-1968) minister, civil rights activist

tattoo tuesday continues.

today's tats are tertiary to the hands touching the new martin luther king jr. memorial and how i believe we as a people have a new touchstone for human rights and peace in the nation's capital.

i visited the memorial with my mother a couple weeks ago - let me tell you, the new monument is a powerful, touching tribute to a truly great human being.

Monday, October 3, 2011

s is for storm

Be thou the rainbow in the storms of life. The evening beam that smiles the clouds away, and tints tomorrow with prophetic ray.
Lord Byron (1788-1824) poet

been stormy the entire time my cousin suzi has been here on the northcoast - but wind and rain hasn't dampened our spirits, we're having a wonderful time in spite of the weather!

yesterday after a sisterly brunch, suzi, em and i spent the rest of the day at the cleveland museum of art - other than a stimulating photo exhibit on shopping and stores (click to see), the museum had no other special exhibits. since suzi's never been to cleveland before that was cool, she enjoyed the museum's permanent collection.

still rainy today, but we're settled in at casa mouse and will spend the day making apple butter, sharing stories, and knowing us being silly.

riders on the storm from the doors 1971 album l.a. woman

photo: saturday, 1 october 2011 - cleveland skyline with storm clouds

Saturday, October 1, 2011

r is for reflect

My role in society, or any artist's or poet's role, is to try and express what we all feel. Not to tell people how to feel. Not as a preacher, not as a leader, but as a reflection of us all.

John Lennon (9 october 1940 - 8 december 1980) musician, artist, activist

rainy weekend on the northcoast, despite the ever-present wetness and chilly temps (which I really love) it promises to be a great weekend. a cousin from pennsylvania is visiting us for the first time, getting in yesterday. our dancecards are full. yesterday we explored the area around the west side market in the afternoon, then hit the art museum for their friday evening film, and wrapped up the night at the happy dog - rocking out to the radical, revolutionary sounds of tunabunny.

today's highlights include a trip to the rock and roll hall of fame and museum to check out the women who rock exhibition! later a group cook at home - dinner will revolve around roasted veggies.

don't forget all you music and/or film lovers - this week is the debut on hbo of martin scorsese's documentary on george harrison!

photo: jefferson monument and reflection, 25 september 2011, washington dc