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.