Friday, November 23, 2007

Wished I had the camera

Cold day, overcast and windy and I did NOT want to go for a walk, but I was restless, so restless: that post-holiday restlessness that comes after holiday conviviality and that can only be cured by forward physical motion. So I found an LL Bean overcoat suitable for arctic expeditions and dragged a small dog with me out into the chill afternoon.

I started out walking along the irrigation ditch that runs between the railroad tracks and Chaparral Road. It's interesting, the juxtaposition of poverty and wealth on a single road in a single mile. Old architecture and falling down old buildings, spruced up mobile homes and falling apart mobile homes, consumerism and Catholicism. I started to notice the play of light and shadow on the edges and folds of the mountains to the west of town. I got to the Loop and passed the house where my boss grew up, a house built by her father who I know she misses and thinks of often.

And the pig farm! Twenty pigs? And every one beautiful - not just beautiful but intelligent and curious and clean. The pig yard was full of soft sandy dirt, and they were rooting and digging holes, and I want to go visit them every day.

Chaparral Loop is itself on another plane of existence, a parallel universe of modest well-taken care of houses and families with polite teenagers, like the young man taking four sheep for a walk, and the young woman playing with her dogs in her yard, one of which looked like a cross between a black lab, a bear, and a dachsund. If you can imagine that. Turn the corner and three vacant houses, so different from one another that they could all exist in their own parallel universe - I might have bought any one of them, if I'd seen them before the grapes and raspberries and roses in the backyard of this house cast their spell on me.

It's a shame, in a way, that I didn't find a way to walk Socorro completely before moving here and buying a house. My brain works best at two or three miles an hour - driving around at twenty-five or thirty-five miles an hour, I just can't assimilate all the information. Perhaps I may buy another house one day, but it seems so unlikely - if I do, I'll do my househunting on foot.

Last wonderful image of the day, a tall tree, branches cut off, looking from one wonderful angle like a giant albino bear, the bark stripped off except for one place where it resembled a pubic mound - or a fig leaf.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Early Birds

This week Socorro has been hosting the 20th annual Festival of the Cranes. Last year we made it to the evening "Fly In" which is something to behold - around dusk, flock after flock of ducks and geese and cranes coming in to the Bosque del Apache Refuge to rest for the night. This year, we got up before dawn to see the morning "Fly Out" - in theory, flocks and flocks of birds heading out for a day's flying and foraging and dodging bullets, or whatever it is birds do all day.

Perhaps I was too bleary-eyed to appreciate what was going on, but it seemed like the cranes, in particular, weren't in a hurry to get moving. Or perhaps we were watching the Special Ed cranes, because they mostly just walked around, occasionally jumping up and down and talking to each other. Every once in a while, a small family group would get its act together and take off, flying low, and the ones walking around on the ground would walk around in circles some more and talk amongst themselves, and five or ten minutes later another little family group would get going.

We saw a lot of $8000 cameras and $2000 telephoto lenses, or maybe it's the other way around. I made a remark about how I was almost embarrassed to take out my $200 jobbie that's got the electrical tape wound around it to the keep the batteries in, and some wiseguy leaned over and said "A good carpenter never blames his tools." So I guess that's the lesson of the day - a good carpenter never blames his tools.

Monday, November 12, 2007

fiddling around

Sick kiddo today, so we are at home. She is mostly sleeping, and I am mostly sitting on my front porch drinking coffee and admiring the view, which looks like this:

Also, I'm foolng around with my fiddle, which looks like this:

Last Friday night, the girls went to the football game and took a picture of the Socorro High School Warriors in all their costumed glory, looking like this:

And the marching band:

Last Thursday I went out near the Very Large Array to begin an Oral History of an old cowboy named Bob Lee. His place was orginally homesteaded in the early part of last century, and his well is the orginal well dug by the original homesteader, and this windmill probably dates from the 1920s or so -

I do love an old windmill.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Some maps and thoughts

The dogs really needed a walk tonight, so we loaded them in the car and drove over to the college. Daylight savings time just ended, so it's getting dark pretty early - here's a picture of the main drag just after sunset through my flyspecked windshield.

This is where we walked today.

And this is where we walked the last two times.

This book I'm reading by Thich Nhat Hanh, called The Art of Power, talks about doing things mindfully, and extols the virtues of unitasking over multitasking. Certainly the dogs would agree. If I were to ask them, I'm sure they would say "Just walk the dogs!" My western mind doesn't allow me to unitask. While walking the dogs, I am also exercising for weight reduction and better health, and having quality family time with my kids, and re-training one of my dogs to behave on a leash, and taking pictures, and doing my Socorro Stroll, and thinking about my blog, and wondering how long it will take to cook the cornish game hens and feed my family and -

I guess I have a non-minimalist monkey mind, but maybe as long as the dogs need walking, this blog will live.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

On hiatus

So many life-altering changes have occurred recently - moving to a new town, becoming a homeowner, starting my own business, going from partnered parent to single mom - that a few things have fallen by the wayside. Some things that I love, like music and walking and blogging about walking, are getting short shrift lately. I barely have time and energy and mental clarity to stay on top of what's most important.

So my plan - of course I have a plan - is to go a more minimalist route for right now: to clear away all the extras that are cluttering up my time and my brain. Better to juggle three swords well than ten swords badly.

Here are two pictures taken by my daughter at Socorrofest, of local musicians performing on the plaza.

I think that's Last Minute Bluegrass - Roger on banjo, Shirley on mandolin, Francie on guitar, Mariah on fiddle, Jim on bass, and another guy whose name I'm not sure of - sorry. The sun was starting to get low in the sky behind the performers - not best photo op.

And that's Without A Drought - JC on guitar, Jeannie on mandolin and fiddle, Jim on bass. JC played bass later for another band called the Rhythm Profits (or Prophets - by that time it was dark and I'd filled up my 16 oz Socorrofest beer glass more than once....)

Well, that's it for now, and probably for a few months, until I get my act together and my life under control, or else give in to the realization that life is a messy business, never under control, and to attempt to contain it all in neatly labeled plastic stackable tubs is an exercise in futility. Hopefully I'll come to that realization by 8pm tonight - Without A Drought is playing at the Socorro Springs Brewing Company and I don't know where pale ale and live music fit into my new streamlined minimalist plan.....

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Sunday Morning Stroll #2

Pictured above is Socorro's Wheel of History, put up in 1998 and created by this guy who has changed his name twelve times but is currently going by the name of Ed McGowin.

Here is something I'm puzzling over. Look at the sign below:

Jumbo was built "to contain the explosion of the first nuclear device" in 1945. For some reason, when said nuclear device was exploded, Jumbo was 800 feet away. How come? They don't say. Did you notice the missing apostrophe? I won't tell you where - if you don't see it right away, you're probably not the kind of person who is bothered by this sort of thing.

Here is our piece of Jumbo:

By the way, I should say for the record that the San Miguel Church pictured in the previous post was not actually built in 1598. It was probably built in the early 1800's at or near the place where the original Mission was founded. Didn't mean to imply that the building itself is over 400 years old. The first church, I think, was made of wood, and burned down. Where's a winged man with a heavenly firehose when you need one....

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Starting at the beginning

The place to start, when you're strolling around Socorro, is with the San Miguel Mission, founded in 1598 by two Spanish priests who named the village Nuestra Senora del Perpetuo Socorro (Our Lady of Perpetual Help) because of the help they received from the local indian tribe they found there.* The original Socorro Land Grant given by the King of Spain apparently encompassed everything within a 3 mile radius of the church. The most enjoyable account of the history of the San Miguel Mission that I have come across so far is here, written by the pastor - it's a gripping tale, complete with buried treasure and visions of a winged man hovering over the doorway grasping a shining sword during an Apache raid.

The bells of San Miguel peal every hour - my new home is within the original land grant, and I hear the bells every so often. It's nice.

Something else I hear is train sounds - the tracks are behind my new home, just to the west. I feel about train sounds the way Spike feels about the howling of the wind - I revel in them - so this is a good thing. What's weird is that by some trick of topography, it actually sounds like there's also a train passing in front of my house at the same time as it passes behind the house. It's not so much an echo as a sound shadow, as though there's a ghost train traveling parallel to the real one. I don't know why I love the sound of a train so much - possibly I am suffering from a chronic case of Zugenruhe.
* Or maybe it was named Socorro by the Spanish explorer Juan de Onate (there should be a tilde over the n in Onate) as in this account.

** I have located the elusive tilde: Oñate! Thanks, Spike.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Coming soon

Looking for a suitable map...