Monday, February 9, 2015

At The Corner of The Road To El Dorado & Memory Lane

Tucson in February, bustling with gem and mineral shows, art festivals and a Chinese New Year Festival. Here we are exploring the present, recalling the past.
Danny lived in Tuscon several winters back in 1970, 1971. He looks at the sprawling streets, the developments that have grown up like mushrooms after a heavy rain. They are everywhere. Tucson was much smaller in 1970.
We went back to the Pueblo Gem show and spent a day exploring the various displays, being astounded by beautiful stones and works of craftsmanship. We picked up supplies to make beautiful jewelry and learned to recognize more types of stones and minerals just by looking at what was being sold.

Jade, quartz dyed to mimic jade, shells, pearls, Amber, labradorite, fossils, apatite, topaz, tourmaline, metaphysical books and pagan soaps as well as water that sat in elegant pitchers with odd straws with wide clear egg shaped hollows full of various rare minerals for the ultimate in infusion.
Late afternoon we wandered down to taste the tantalizing treasures served up by the various themed food truck vendors. The foods were interesting and unusual from Mexian Asian fusion to wicked burgers that taste pleasant but aren't so wicked that they try to mug you.
The best part of the day happened. We sat at a table in the shade, there was a young man with a peaceful smile sitting there. He nodded as we sat. He'd been amused by our antics and conversation as we decided what to eat and interpreted menus. The young man had brown hair hidden underneath his crocheted red mushroom hat. Danny made a joke about mushrooms, noting the variety suggested by the white spots on the red cap.
The young man grinned broadly. His hat was on a pyramid frame made of gold, disguised by the mushroom. His name was Danny as well, he had also come from Minnesota. I thought how wild the odds were against the chance of such a meeting. We had a wonderful conversation on life. Young Danny offered a gift as he was leaving. He gave a resin scene he'd made with calcite, gold, tourmaline, lapis, quartz, herkimer diamond, juniper and more. He gave us the round disc, one to focus and free the mind from interference. I'd seen similar before and was honored.
I was wearing a dragonfly necklace I'd made. I gave it as a gift in return. We parted with hugs and the kind enigmatic man said we it was an honor to meet us, he complimented us highly. I thought of our ridiculous conversation and thought he must have a brilliant sense of humor.
As he left, another you man at the next table offered us half of his gourmet hot dog. Alex, with earth tone scarf over his black t-shirt. He spoke of love and beauty before continuing on his adventures. Both men parted by giving us hugs which surprised Danny. Both men were very open and caring, neither seemed to live by revolving around a cellphone.
We met a couple from Connecticut, conspiracies were spoken of. We agreed that questions are important and media shapes what it reports too much.
We wandered back to finish our explorations of the Pueblo show and decided to go to 4th Ave as the sun was setting.
We slowly drove past where the Ashram had been on 4th Ave. Danny had lived there in 1971, he searched his memory and the architecture for connections and found them.
We passed a park where he practiced and taught yoga. We parked the car and walked the sidewalks. We admired window displays and art that ranged from bicycle parts used to make a garbage can frame to a car titled "the new Lincoln Memorial" with a coffin on the roof, covered in an American flag. Yes, it was a Lincoln.
The New Lincoln Memorial, Tuscon AZ


Most of the stores were closed. The streetcar that had recently been finished was unseen although its silver tracks shone in the streetlights. There was no streetcar in 1970. The Co-op Danny used to shop at was still open and had a line of content customers. I wondered if they'd give him member price because he'd been one so long ago, when they first opened.
We went into the Hippy Gypsy, where we met Seth Foley. Seth is a veteran and as he prepared to close for the night we were delighted by the best conversation we'd had in a long time. Intelligent, opinionated, educated, and experienced; Seth has traveled and set boots down on almost every continent (except Antarctica).
Seth told us about the Mayday PAC, which is a PAC to end all PACs. If you aren't sure what that means, definitely take a moment to Google it. It is good to understand politics. Do you want your legislation to listen to you or to their primary corporate sponsors? If your answer was you, then search for the May day PAC, support it and spread the word.
With the night complete we made our way home.

Day of the Dead Store front display, 4th Ave

Even the garbage was art... 4th Ave, Tuscon, AZ

Stoically standing over 4th Ave, Tuscon, AZ

Mural on 4th Ave, Tuscon, AZ- no matter where you look on 4th Ave Art is waiting to be appreciated

We are honored to be staying at a friend's apartment for a few days. We've gotten to meet Geronimo, the manager who is Sonoran. He told us about Sonoran hot dogs and traded stories with a smile.
Today we went to the Native American Exposition. We traded stories with Ernie, a well traveled Hopi who makes everything from beautiful Jewelry to drums. We admired a woman designing the black pattern on the outside of a clay vase. A man sat carving wood at the far end of the room, while another adeptly wove baskets. The talent and beauty of the work made me wish I'd had a fortune to spend rather than just complimentary words.
One couple from Minnesota had pipestone in their display. We went to the Pipestone Quarry last summer. We've got pieces we have been gradually carving as time and travel allow.
I met Norma who has been selling beads for forty years, since she retired from banking. We traded stories and smiles. She said stories are important, they are valued in the tribes. She talked about life being about change, doing different things and not worrying too much. She liked that I am on a path of chance. She said that it is how life us meant to be lived. Watching her smile was like getting to witness a rose blooming.

Danny did magic and traded tales around the room, we met at the far end. It was a great afternoon.
We kept our momentum and headed toward memory lane again. We went down Speedway toward Grant's pass.
In 1970 Danny and a friend found an abandoned stone house along a wash. They squatted there for several months, carrying gallons of water four miles from Tuscon, then another mile at least up the wash. Danny made sand candles and sold them in Tuscon.
I found information on a trail to the stone house. Was it the same house?
Danny Lord at the Stone House, Tuscon AZ 

We tried using memories forty years gone to recognize the wash. We resorted to a map. We found the road, the trailhead. Danny recognized the wash. We made our way up the trail. He stopped in shock and delight when we saw the stone frame. It was the same stone house! He had lived here. This house inspired him to build his own stone house in Wisconsin.
The sunset was getting close. Shadows stretched over us. We wanted to catch the sunset at Grant's Pass, another place from memory lane. Would it be the same?
We made it to the car in record time, excited to try for the sunset. We drove carefully to Grant's Pass. Danny recognized it, it was the same. We parked and hustled up the mountain.
There were at least twenty or thirty people spread out taking selfies. I wondered how many saw the view.
Angela Hunt at Grants Pass, AZ

Danny Lord at Grants Pass, AZ

Hidden sunset at Grant's Pass AZ 

We climbed to different perches and watched the sky perform its show. Where I sat I could see bats rising and swooping in the dusk. As the sun went down everyone focused on it. Within ten minutes all the cars were gone except four. Five or six of us remained. As night fell Tuscon began to grow brighter. Spots if light appeared, Tuscon became a field of stars.
Danny was incredulous, Tuscon was larger than he'd realized. The lights gave a better idea, desert colored houses that were hidden in daylight now stood out. We admired the night. As we left a coyote walked by the gazebo we'd just come from. I love coyotes. It made the night as exceptional as the day had been.
Wanderers crossing paths, sharing tales and hope. Lighting faces with smiles and creating connections in spirit and heart. What is the purpose of life, stopping assuming "the wallet" and listen to the terrifying beautiful freedom of following the uncertainty of the heart and soul.