Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Winter signs

The bucks have shreds of velvet hanging from their antlers and the juncos have started appearing at the bird feeder ... the seasons must be changing.

The nights are cooler for sleeping and the days are pleasant for walking in the sunshine. Last week we had breakfast at Vicki's, our favorite breakfast place, and then took about a six-block walk up Market, west a couple of blocks and then back up Texas to the car. SO much to see when you go slowly!

Like Gallery 400 and the FeVa Fotos partners reflected in a door next to Vicki's Eatery. Like the art filling a window space in the Daily Press building, with just about every facet of local culture incorporated into the tile borders of a lovely painting. Like the whimsical tile feathered serpent, done in tile on a stucco wall, next to a tile space-guy, next to a snake crawling over a drain. Like the corn maiden in the middle of a checkerboard design on the outside of a closed gallery. And the colorful view down Texas Street in the heart of the art district. Or the blue blooms in Molly Romolla's window box. The imprints of the past ... and of the present ... in the sidewalks. All this in a few blocks!

Later, we drove up to La Capilla, a community chapel from long ago that's been restored on a high knoll in the city. The spot offers a great panoramic view of Silver City to the north.

Saturday offered a chance to visit the next-to-last Silver City farmers market of the year. As we were approaching, we immediately recognized the delightfully lively sounds of Bayou Seco, our favorite silver-haired young musicians in the area. Jeannie and Ken just make such happy music! We didn't buy anything at the market, but it's always an enjoyable set of sights and sounds.

I'll miss the last market; I'm leaving Saturday morning on a driving trek to Washington, D.C., for the annual meeting of Friends Committee on National Legislation. By driving, I get to have Halloween with Noi and her family in Swannanoa, NC, as well as to visit the Deep Creek, VA, area where my great-great-great-grandfather, Drayton Mills Curtis, settled and raised a family. The driving days will be long and the meeting days in D.C. will also be long, so Sandy's going to enjoy the peace and quiet of the animals and Silver City without me. Maybe next year we can do it together.

I want to get as much FeVa Fotos mileage out of the trip as possible, so I'm hoping for several photo opportunities, weather permitting. I especially want to get pictures of the new Martin Luther King, Jr., memorial on the Mall, along with shots of other Mall features (the Lincoln Memorial and the "Wall" especially, plus others), so I'm especially hoping for good weather on the 3rd, when I hope to walk the length of the Mall on my way to and from appointments on Capitol Hill. It would be great to get morning sun on the Lincoln Memorial and the Wall, and I think the MLK and WWII memorials face west.

A project along the way, which you may see reflected here, will be "A Slice of America." I'm aware of (and often comment on) the fact that various groups claiming to know what's best for America (the Tea Party, Quakers and others) don't "look like America." So, as I travel 2,000+ miles to D.C. via I-40 and 2,000+ miles back on I-20 and I-10, I'm going to take snapshots in public places (in D.C., too) showing crowds. I suspect the series will have a "Golden Arches" subtheme, because I will probably be stopping frequently at McDonald's for fluid exchange ("one black senior coffee to go, please, in my cup") and use their WiFi access. Let's see what America does look like, or at least those two slices of it!

The other photo project will be on the evening of Nov. 1 and morning of Nov. 2, as I explore the land where my ancestors lived and walked. DMC and his family lived on the east edge of the Great Dismal Swamp ... not a very inviting name, eh? I've never seen that area and so I've contacted folks at the historical society there and hope to do a quick tour of the relevant places, trying to capture photographically some of the essence of their land. I'll probably blog that, too.

Well, 'nuff fer now. Sun's about to come up. Got lots of preparing for the trip still to do ... got the car serviced, but need to clean it up; hope to pick up new spectacles in Las Cruces before I go; still got some planning for the meeting to do; plus things to wrap up here.

Today is our 43rd (month) anniversary and we're going to try Shevek's for supper tonight, one of the many eateries in Silver City that we haven't been to yet. I regret that I've let myself get distracted and forget a few of these anniversaries ... I'm grateful for each one with Sandy. Just as I love the morning ritual in a few minutes of getting her the first cup of coffee when she arises. Life is such a wonderful thing; we just have to remember to savor each moment of it! tv

Monday, October 17, 2011

Days are getting shorter

Trees on the hillside are silhouetted against the last light. We're past the equinox and seem to be rushing toward the equinox. Winter's coming, and that's okay.

We went up to Mancos a week ago, partly to meet the renters and check on the house, partly to get our aspen and snowy mountains fix. We went eastward over Emery Pass (lovely view across the Rio Grande Valley) and on up I-25 and U.S. 550 to Farmington, where we pigged out on "big city" stuff ... Outback and a movie in the multiplex. The late afternoon sunlight across Kutz Canyon and Angel Peak was beautiful with the storm clouds beyond.

Saturday we got a leisurely start and went up the La Plata Highway and then up La Plata Canyon. It was great to see the (freshly) snowy peaks above the tilled fields in the Breen area. When we got up to Hesperus, there was a biker riding up the road into the canyon ahead of us. Beautiful sunny morning in the fresh snow on the road, golden aspen leaves, dark conifers and snowy peaks under the blue sky. Okay, got THAT fix taken care of!

We lunched at the Kennebec Café, one of our favorite eateries in the area, before going on to Mancos. Sunday we went to meeting with Durango Friends and enjoyed (as always!) a Friends potluck with Friends old and new.

Mancos was actually kind of cold and chilly, but it was still good to look around, have supper at Arborena and then at Millwood Junction, plus breakfasts at the Bakery and coffee at Fahrenheit ... and to see numerous friends. The cemetery south of town, Cedar Grove, is one of the most beautiful and peaceful places in the Mancos Valley, as the deer will attest.

Anyway, we got back okay. Had to have a thermostat replaced in Mancos (Thank God for Gary M.!) and got a late start on the return, so we spent a night in Springerville, AZ, then finished the trip through Alpine and Luna, NM, the next morning.

We did a show at the American Legion Hall in Silver City last Saturday; got to offer some new local shots and some holiday cards, all of which were well-received. FeVa Fotos is beginning to get a presence in the area. Sandy is in a red sweater, standing in our booth under the MIA banner.

And, yes, we have fun, too! The top picture is of the Hi Lo Silvers, a community choral group that does several concerts annually. This one was Sunday afternoon at the Presbyterian Church.

We're getting some pictures ready for a Mimbres Region Arts Council show and getting more holiday cards ready; we have at least one more show ahead before Christmas.

I've been active in Gila Friends Meeting, opening the meeting place some Sundays and serving on the Ministry and Oversight Committee. I'm getting ready now to go to the Friends Committee on National Legislation annual meeting in Washington, D.C. I've decided to drive, so it will take a while.

I'm looking forward to being with Noi and Lucas and Aiden and Nola Jane on Halloween; that should be a hoot! Driving will also enable me to stop by the Great Dismal Swamp in SE Virginia.

What? That's not one of your top tourist destinations? Well, my great-great-great-grandfather Drayton Mills Curtis lived there 200 years ago and I'm looking forward to seeing the place where he walked and breathed. tv

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Over the hump?

The last few weeks have been busy! Maybe October will bring a slower pace? Not counting on it!

"Flat Aiden" has gone back to Asheville, NC, and the story of his travels in SW New Mexico will, I guess, be related next week in his second-grade classroom. Anyway, he covered a lot of ground while he was here, all within Grant County. He was in both the Atlantic and Pacific watersheds ... the Continental Divide is three miles west of here and seven miles north. Interesting to consider that water running off our roof here in Silver City eventually mixes with water running off Aiden's roof in Swannanoa, NC!

"Hot Dogs and More" is a weekly event run by the campus ministry at WNMU and this was the second time we've helped Kiwanis do the serving. Sandy is second-from-left in the serving line; it's a really pleasant opportunity to serve the campus community and its neighbors. They served several hundred people, mostly kids, and Sandy again commented on how polite and pleasant they were. It was a beautiful evening, too ... until the storm hit, right after everyone was done being served.

Saturday was another show, our second time to have our booth up in this area ... that's Sandy welcoming folks to FeVa Fotos. Closer, shorter and cooler than the Mimbres show and very pleasant overall. Good sales, too, maybe because Sandy had the idea of donating half the proceeds from the print sales to the Piños Altos VFD, which sponsored the October Fiesta as a fundraiser. They're also our fire department.

I love the mix of people shown by the servers outside the Opera House ... bikers, bicyclists, shoppers, servers and Apaches. Joe and Gloria have been with us at events for the last three weekends, so I asked them if they would pose with Aiden; turns out they've had three grandkids who participated in the "Flat Stanley" project and they were delighted to! They are of the Warm Springs Band of Chiricahua Apaches, living in Piños Altos. Lovely folks!

And last Sunday we caught the last hours of the Grant County Fair in Cliff, way over at the western edge of Grant County. The number and variety of preserves, vegetables and crafts reminded me of the Lincoln County, WI, fairs that I participated in in my youth. Lots of art projects by school classes, too.

Unfortunately, I didn't check the background when I photographed the calf roper waiting his turn ... it looks like he has a flagpole extending out of his head. What I was really looking at was the approaching storm, which hit a few minutes later.

And shortly after that, a couple of miles away, the Gila River was flowing its way toward the Colorado River in sunshine. tv