28 November 2009

What if your desktop reflects what's in your mind?

At 70....reflections of the cycles of life.

I received this email chain letter the other day from my mom and it came at such an appropriate time as I feel I am at the cross roads again. My dad turning 70; Thanksgiving; Deciding to sell my pink 1965 VW bus after it's been a yard feature at DKish's for the past three years. Anticipating the trip to Mexico City to pay homage to Our Lady of Guadalupe and see the pyramids of the ancients. There are changes in my life; endings and beginnings; the hesitation before the leap and wondering as I look back on it all have I done it right? or have I done all I am suppose to do? Reading this reminded me that there are so many paths and I too hope I can look back on my life from 70 with humor and wisdom. I am grateful to all the inspiring women and men of all ages, shapes and sizes who grace my life and show me how it's done.

In April, Maya Angelou was interviewed by Oprah on her 70+ birthday. Oprah asked her what she thought of growing older.
And, there on television, she said it was 'exciting...'
Regarding body changes, she said there were many, occurring every day.....like her breasts. They seem to be in a race to see which will reach her waist, first.

The audience laughed so hard they cried. She is such a simple and honest woman, with so much wisdom in her words!

Maya Angelou said this:
'I've learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow.'

'I've learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights.'

'I've learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, you'll miss them when they're gone from your life.'

'I've learned that making a 'living' is not the same thing as 'making a life.'

'I've learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance.'

'I've learned that you shouldn't go through life with a catcher's mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw some things back....'

'I've learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision.'

'I've learned that even when I have pains, I don't have to be one..'

'I've learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back.'

'I've learned that I still have a lot to learn..'

'I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.'

One of my favorite poems I never tire reading:

On The Pulse Of Morning
by Maya Angelou
From President Clinton's Inauguration in 1993

A Rock, A River, A Tree
Hosts to species long since departed,
Marked the mastodon.
The dinosaur, who left dry tokens
Of their sojourn here
On our planet floor,
Any broad alarm of their hastening doom
Is lost in the gloom of dust and ages.

But today, the Rock cries out to us, clearly, forcefully,
Come, you may stand upon my
Back and face your distant destiny,
But seek no haven in my shadow,
I will give you no hiding place down here.

You, created only a little lower than
The angels, have crouched too long in
The bruising darkness,
Have lain too long
Face down in ignorance
Your mouths spilling words
Armed for slaughter.
The Rock cries out to us today, you stand on me,
But do not hide your face.

Across the wall of the world,
A River sings a beautiful song,
It says, come rest here by my side.

Each of you a bordered country,
Delicate and strangely made proud,
Yet thrusting perpetually under siege
Your armed struggles for profit
Have left collars of waste upon
My shore, currents of debris upon my breast.
Yet, today I call you to my riverside,
If you will study war no more.

Clad in peace and I will sing the songs
The Creator gave to me when I and the
Tree and the Rock were one.
Before cynicism was a bloody sear across your
Brow. when you yet knew you still
Knew nothing.
The River sings and sings on.

There is a true yearning to respond to
The singing River and the wise Rock.
So say the Asian, the Hispanic, the Jew.
The African, the Native American, the Sioux,
The Catholic, the Muslim, the French, the Greek .
The Irish, the Rabbi, the Priest, the Sheikh,
The Gay, the Straight, the Preacher,
The privileged, the homeless, the Teacher.
They all hear,
The speaking of the Tree.
They hear the first and last of every Tree
Speak to humankind today.

Come to me, here beside the River.
Plant yourself beside me, here beside the River.
Each of you, descendant of some passed
On traveler, has been paid for.
You, who gave me my first name, you
Pawnee, Apache, Seneca, you
Cherokee Nation, who rested with me, then
Forced on bloody feet, left me to the employment of
Other seekers--desperate for gain, Starving for gold.
You, the Turk, the Arab, the Swede, the German, the Eskimo,
The Scot, the Italian, the Hungarian, the Pole,
You the Ashanti, the Yoruba, the Kru, bought
Sold, stolen, arriving on a nightmare
Praying for a dream.

Here, root yourselves beside me.
I am that Tree planted by the River,
Which will not be moved.
I, the Rock, I the River, I the Tree
I am yours--your Passages have been paid
Lift up your faces, you have a piercing need
For this bright morning dawning for you.
History, despite its wrenching pain,
Cannot be unlived, but if faced
With courage, need not be lived again.

Lift up your eyes upon
This day breaking for you.
Give birth again
To the dream.

Women, children, men,
Take it into the palms of your hands.
Mold it into the shape of your most
Private need. Sculpt it into
The image of your most public self.
Lift up your hearts
Each new hour holds new chances
For a new beginning.
Do not be wedded forever
To fear, yoked eternally
To brutishness.

The horizon leans forward,
Offering you space to place new steps of change.
Here, on the pulse of this fine day
You may have the courage
To look up and out and upon me, the
Rock, the River, the Tree, your country.
No less to Midas than the mendicant.
No less to you now than the mastodon then.

Here on the pulse of this new day
You may have the grace to look up and out
And into your sister's eyes, and into
Your brother's face, your country
And say simply
Very simply
With hope
Good morning.

Sometimes my mom and I communicate best this way; and I LOVE her for this- the way she feels and responds to the world and shares with me. this was beautiful, and funny and I had a flash of all of your faces come into my mind's eye like a parade of visions and how I miss you! How wonderful to have such wonderful sisters/mamas/ and amazing Women like you in my life....I am counting my blessings today to be in gratitude as I go out into the world this morning...I am enclosing one of the most beautiful poems by Maya that makes me think of being at the bottom of Grand Canyon or along the banks of the Tutuaca and the Casas Grandes river with my Queens-shoes in hand, the shimmering trees along with our laughter; all of your eyes so bright....and being a child in wonder at the world.

Last night I photographed a mother/daughter and I watched them be so tender; daughter attending mother, and mother strong and warrior, her breast holding her daughter's head; I flashed back to the time when the daughter was 5 and now she's 14...she kneeled in front of her and fixed her mother's hair; I remember that feeling of being so small in wonder at my own mother's breast looking up into her beautiful brown moon face and feeling it was the best place in the world....

After Running's 70th birthday eating leftovers and visiting with Ted, and Roseanne and NIcci, all friends of Running and Bennett whom we hadn't seen for a long time since Bennett passed away as late; our bellies were full after the wonderful festivities and reunion. Much laughter and wine and all were tired and full. We sat together all of us at the small kitchen table that has hosted so many wonderful gatherings and Rosanne petted my head the way Bennett used to....it was a magical feeling of the invisible and physical worlds joining. Those here and those who've gone. then Ted read a poem he wrote for Running and Rosanne announced she was learning how to play the harmonica and would play us a song.

Rosanne's head tilted and the space grew really still; the first sweet note; hitting high and deep - she began Summer Time....when the living was easy....when I was little I thought this was my family in the song when my mom would sing it to me...; and it is...as I prepare to fly again I am thinking of all of this; the rapture and the heart that flowed out of Rosanne at that moment filled me with longing for being a baby again, my mother's embrace; my father's assurance and tenderness; the missing of Bennett and the warmth of you friends/sisters/mamas who give me courage and chances to fly and pass along this amazing feeling for life itself.....may we all be joined in the BIG heart...

Ted's poem for my dad:
John at Seventy

The trains blow through all night, perhaps
forty, maybe more. Each distinct voice
hoots long-long-short-long through every crossing,
each voice echoes, reflecting back against
the sacred San Francisco peaks, sacred bringers of rain,
sacred to the nations here; white, mixed, brown. Tonight
a gathering of artists, of visions and cultures,
a celebration of a way of life, of giving
from the heart, el corazon. Here
lives braid, braid like DNA coiled
uncoiling, recombinant, glowing. I love
their faces, lined or smooth, direct
and open gazes with each toast.

Ted McMahon, poet, doctor,trip facilitator
The Hero's Journey; A Grand Canyon adventure 2010

Nature- more precious then gold.

Amazon 1144
Amazon 1163
Amazon 1450

The search for gold is a fever and it is upsetting the efforts of those who care to protect natures most precious places. Scientist's efforts to protect and educate our world are in danger from the encroaching greed. I am looking for links and connections. Delving into the past through present technology. Ancient symbols and the stories of the Americas. I want to help connect the stories, the relationships of north, middle and south americas.I am reading books late into the night to find a path to create a new design for a new eco project to foster stewardship of the land and cultural stories that amaze with thier depth, and complexity to explain a relationship of people to the land. This morning I found an article about the new road to connect Brazil to Peru. It's progress ! bringing the modern world. The dirt road becomes paved and the jungle of one of the most important rain forests in the world disappears.


My Amazon flickr gallery
Brazil President says gringos have to pay to protect the Amazon.

I once traveled there three years ago to help the AmazonConservation.org to create an archive of images to use to protect the region. I traveled along the shores of the Manu River and the Madre Dios River, the River of God. I visited the most remote research station Cocha Cashu and met scientists and people who have been working together to protect these lands. Now I travel through the Sierra Madres in Chihuahua and see the gold miners in the mountains; the new roads being built and I feel a sadness and a great loss for the wild lands.

I think about watching the John Huston Classic, 'TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE'. The green prospectors pouring out water onto desert stones; and old man Howard's words reprimanding them for their ignorance in their desert quest, "Water's precious. Sometimes may be more precious than gold. " My dad and I are heating up leftovers from Thanksgiving for lunch. He tells me a story he heard of when the Spaniards came with their lust for gold their captors would pour liquid gold down their throats to quench their thirst. You can't drink or eat gold. We need trees to breathe.

Howard: We've wounded this mountain. It's our duty to close her wounds. It's the least we can do to show our gratitude for all the wealth she's given us. If you guys don't want to help me, I'll do it alone.
Bob Curtin: You talk about that mountain like it was a real woman.
Fred C. Dobbs: She's been a lot better to me than any woman I ever knew. Keep your shirt on, old-timer. Sure, I'll help ya.
from John Huston's movie, TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE.

My Amazon flickr gallery
Brazil President says gringos have to pay to protect the Amazon.

19 November 2009

I Can't believe it...Bison, Guadalupe and Teotihuacan

No. YES. I can't believe it. I have just pushed the button and confirmed a flight to Mexico City from Chihuahua City.
A desire to see the pilgrimage of Our Lady of Guadalupe and the ancient temples at Teotihuacan. There was an introduction and an invitation; there's the moment to live or to regret later. Time flies and I can hardly believe it has been almost three years my visual odyssey has now rounded the bend and has led me to this point in time and inquiry to further and deepen my quest of connections beyond the borderlands and go to the heart of Meso America and make my own pictures to weave the tales.

Memories of my first travels south to Casas Grandes to photograph Juan Quezada and meeting Spencer and Emi MacCallum who invited me to stay for three months. I could never imagine it would lead me here to this half spontaneous decision. spurred on by my new friend Talli. She wrote me, " I feel very strongly that you should take up Marcia's offer to stay with her for El Dia de la Virgen de Guadalupe and the procession to the shrine, known as the peregrinacion. You too can be a peregrina. People start the march/walk all this month of November from all over the country and converge here on Dec. 12. It is just your cup of tea. But mainly I feel that you and Marcia were meant for each other right at this time and place. Don't hesitate: That's my advice. . If that's not a clear sign then I would be blind or deaf to not heed the call.

It's been awhile since writing. So many thoughts and I am now having to reflect and distill so many experiences that have propelled me to go forward. From ancient sites in the Valley of the Caves to one of the oldest cities of the ancient world.
What will the designs teach me? What Spirits will guide my eyes to see and my heart to feel about the land and cultures I have come to treasure?

Jason came home late. The frustration of decision making my stomach do flip flops. Can I afford to go? Can I afford NOT to?
What path of destiny have I just signed up for??? I am grateful for his pressence; his excitement as we laugh as I accidently buy the very extended stay ticket. In my mind our friends who went to San Miguel Allande never to be seen again. The Cristo Rey Cabalgata....all of the calls south before time and life slip away. I didn't read the fine print. Now the churning feeling inside can be replaced with conviction to make the move. Just like being above the rapid and the inevitable approach and then the effort to get your boat and hold the line.

Yes Life is indeed too brief; I embark on the journey not knowing how much time one really has to do one's life work. This is more clear as people depart this sweet earth. It makes me think of how much I still need, want to do...so much to learn and see. Dots to connect and lines to erase.

To embrace the world, and jump into the expression of devotion.

It is almost 2;30 in the morning. Jason snores; HOPI radio plays softly in the background. A hot bath drawn to still the butterflies inside. The cold floats through the window with Our Lady poised looking at me as she has over the years. The
Monte Vista sign's red glow turned off. It is this strange hour of aloneness in the world. And yet not alone-it's more about feeling the smallness of self in this infinite space and feeling apart of it and thinking of how I really did get here??

I am thinking of my father's birth and his life; vignettes in photographs; His white hair now and always his kind disposition and curiosity.Tomarrow is a special day, my dad's 70th birthday.

Bison Crossing Borders: A gift

There are many crossings on any given day along the US/Mexican border that fill the headlines. But on November 3rd, 2009, an extraordinary eight year effort brought together by respective environmental agencies and people all cumulated at the Santa Teresa Crossing in a binational effort to reintroduce the endangered Bison back to Northern Chihuahua from Wind Cave, South Dakota.

It was a beautiful sight to see 23 bison yearlings cross the political lines to begin their new life in the land that once supported herds of bison.

Many of us stood together like children do at the zoo contemplating the magic and wonder of nature.

Perhaps this is a way for us to break down borders as we lo

These links will be updated and I hope people will learn more of the environmental efforts by both our countries.

The Nature Conservancy in Northern Mexico:








13 September 2009

Don't get too comfortable...

"Don't get too comfortable with who you are at any given time,you may miss the opportunity to become who you want to be." Jon Bon Jovi

They say timing is everything. In photography as in life. My friend Merv sent me this today as I was leaving the memorial commemorating the life of Maria Ruiz. A bright shining light, the warm heart of the old south side of my hometown of Flagstaff. It was a beautiful gathering of people, family and friends who have been touched by her amazing spirit which included the art of food and sustenance for the soul. She was/is a beautiful, punk rock, Frida-esque Botisatsva; Lover of life, mother, friend to many.
So many people came together today and I it was truly moving to see all the faces of our community spanning over 25 years. Her life just shy of 50 years has left me pondering how much time we really have to participate in this dance of life? Her cafe has been a refuge, a place to share secrets, reflections over delicious lemonade and blue corn tamales; Her food and I would imagine her life was spiced with a little hot, some sweet and flavors of the world; nutmeg, chile, honey; soy sauce and citrus; the fruits of the earth created into savory masterpieces for the palette; visually beautifully presented with care and served with reflections on life, spiritual and political.

The last time I saw her was at the last hold out of the local neighborhood grocery store, the Bashas on the hill. I haven't been home in awhile but whenever I walk through the doors I take note of the things that haven't changed; it still smells the same like it did when I was kid; I know where everything is; I don't get lost in the overwhelming aisles like I do at the newer, super sized stores that make me want to run back outside; people still ask after my mother; and so it was so lovely to see her in her overalls coming in as I was going out. It was a brief moment appreciated for it's sense of home and for it's significance for it's brevity now that she is gone from this earthly world. I am grateful to have seen her; still so beautiful.

One can not capture all the moments of a life even if one tried; If I had the foresight as I do now, after the fact as I comforted my friend Rex whose tears were the first I've ever seen in all the years of our friendship as we sat at my table reflecting and trying to be brave in this world gone mad. I thought of all the wonderful people I've known since I was a child; all the children I've know as babies now grown with children of their own; the passing of those who've gone before whose memories become enlivened again as the ache returns from the missing of their presence; I should have done portraits of each and everyone to look for the light and the love they each held for this beautiful soul to remember and see her in them and them in her. We are reflections of one another after all; pieces of the whole.

It is not comfortable this pain of loss, of becoming. How do we bare it all? And yet this little note reminds me of what I feel when I return to my yoga practice, or try my best to be aware of the bigger energy; the life force that coerces us to grow and become something more of who we are; who are we to become in the years of our lives?

One of Maria's nephews, Adan, whose 7 drew pictures in his sketch book and asked me if I liked to climb trees. It made me laugh and think I should again...who will she, me, you become in the days,weeks, years to come? Becoming is not an easy process...I am reminded of other words of wisdom to justify the uncomfortableness from the book ILLUSIONS; "What the caterpillar calls death becomes a butterfly."

15 August 2009


HOROSCOPE: Aug14th 2009
Distant horizons are calling you. As a Gemini, you always live in a relationship to the greater, wider world. But too often this other world exists as an abstraction, or as something you tend to see is available to others and not to you. At the moment, some of your deepest desires, hopes and aspirations are actually available. You’re likely to be feeling a strong pull to go beyond what you know, far past anything you’ve ever experienced. The only catch is, you must not limit your thinking to your own town or your own country. And please don’t let anyone else’s limited ideas stop you.

13 August 2009

Keep your EYES peeled

Horoscope June 13,2009. Gemini
Although this day won't be jam-packed with excitement, you won't be bored for a minute. Your regular routine holds quite a few interesting (if subtle) nuances today. You may feel inspired to try a new creative experience to stimulate your day and get some juices flowing. A trip to a museum, art supply store or even an artsy coffee shop would be a great way to while away a free hour ... you're in the right frame of mind to see visual expression in a whole new way.

Isn't it weird or serendipitous how your horoscopes sometimes really feels like a reflection of you and other times completely off?

01 August 2009

Spiraling home: The Canyon, Ceremonies & Migration

" Myself, I can't account for the inexpressible fascination that the Hopi sipapu holds for me. Whenever things go out of focus, money runs short and temper rises like a barometer, I always take a squint at Grand Canyon as a down payment on another lease of equanimity.
J.B. Priestly, a noted Englishman, recommends it to us even more extravagantly. " If I were an American," he advises, " I should make my remembrance of it the final test of men,art, and policies. I should ask myself: is it good enough to exist in the same country as the Canon? How would I feel about this man, this kind of art, these political measures, if I were near that Rim? Every member or officer of the Federal Government ought to remind himself, with triumphant pride, that hie is on the staff of the Grand Canon."
The Hopi, I think, would pass this test. Their art, social science and government, the kiva ceremonialism which includes their cosmology and cosmogenesis, their very lives are patterned on it. Some of us fall a little short. And there are other noted Englishmen who do not seem aware of its existence."
from MASKED GODS, Frank Waters pg.426

I woke up thinking of chile.I am cooking beans so the house can smell like Mexico. Red chile, cumin, garlic, onions and corn tortillas. Maybe it's a little late or too early to be craving a mexican breakfast before going to yoga class but I can't help it. The sky is so blue and later the clouds will come and dance cross the plateau, the mesas and the majestic mountain that is the San Francisco Peaks and most likely it will rain again today making the air feel soft and pregnant inspiring naps and reading.

I remember wind on the slopes as I once climbed long ago with my brother and father as we walked up Humphreys and looked far to north the canyon. Ah, the canyon...so many images and memories come to mind in a swirl of impressions. Time is a river running through the seasons of my life.

Info about HOPI:
I am amazed what one can learn from the giant library of the internet; While looking for images I followed these interesting notes. I have heard some people discredit FRANK WATERS, BOOK OF THE HOPI. My dad leant me his book MASKED GODS he got back in the 50's. Shirley Taylor Robinson, my Mormon mentor, archeologist and teacher at the Juarez Academy in Chihuahua considers it one of the most important books. Frank Waters is the kind of man who is rare in his observation,sensitivity and story teller. I treasure these books for the window into the past that I hope has a key for the future. There is bad news everywhere, but when I learn about these connections I feel hope. I feel rooted into the earth and know these beliefs have served humanity for thousands of years. I see the clouds form over the San Francisco mountains and I see something bigger than I can imagine. I appreciate being able to feel and see these connections; to our mountain, the Canyon and the long road home to Paquime where the same winds blow in the swirl of time.

love that I am learning more about the cultural connections to this landscape and people I love and it's with this interest I hope you will enjoy the discovery as well. From a variety of 'sources' on the web here's more links:
Hopi notes

23 July 2009

Earth, Wind, Fire,and a prayer.

On any given day there's an invitation to go to the ranch. On this particular day after returning from the Sierras down near Copper Canyon where Berto and I did a photo shoot to for the Tutuaca Mountain School. We return to the Casas Grandes Valley. I was feeling out of sorts-and thus Carmela invites me to go to the ranch with her grandchildren, Virginia and Lalito.
There is nothing like going back out to the land for reflection....just to drive around and check the cattle. Los sauces, The Willows, is her ranch, once apart of the Carolitos, one of the oldest haciendas in Northern Chihuahua.

We go to feed the cowboys and check the cattle that afternoon. I love these children - I love this family and feel a kinship to them and this land and it is this love that connects us to the past and the future. Summers with YaYa, their grandmother, my dear friend is a woman I admire for her undeniable spiritedness. With hair like a lioness, she always wears the fire red lipstick and talks like a cultured truck driver, seasoned rancher with a bit of a Texas twang punctuating her observations with a couple 'Gawd Damns' thrown in for emphasis. Regal and down to earth, a Diva with the wonder of a five year old with the light of passion sparkling in her eyes as they scan the landscape almost as if she's tasting the air like an animal scents for what is safe or not.

It is just wind, and a vast landscape. The children ride out the window; the world of their American life falls away as they learn the ways of the land of their ancestors. We have a lesson on how to pee outside; we drink water from a jug, and listen to French and Mexican songs on the satellite radio. My heart is somewhere else thinking about the path of love I've been called to; it yearns and it wants to run at the same time and I feel confused about what I want. I focus on the horizon reflecting over my life's loves....there are no easy answers... and I resign myself to the land. We stop and watch a new baby mare. We peer into the water tank and chase clouds in reflections of sky on the still liquid surface. Lalito exclaims, "LOOK at the baby cows!" his Ya Ya(grandmother), corrects him, "they're calves'....he is learning....

The windmill creaks in the wind that is picking up. The heat of the day gives way to the pregnant air that teases with rain....but none falls.... My eye continues searching going out far to the horizon. I see the clouds and dust- a phenomena of air currents....Lalito sits on his grandmother's lap and drives the road with concentration; we bounce along....I shoot from the window a hail Mary shot when what was the dust cloud grows darker. Through the lens I strain to discern is it dust or smoke rising....the wind has picked up considerably. We move towards the ranch through the pastures, past cattle....the air feels all of a sudden tense....we pause and we all strain looking out the windows south....it is smoke and it's dark cloud gets bigger and is moving fast towards us; the ranch house....the instinct of danger encroaching kicks in. FIRE..out of control moves fast on the plain.

The dust rises high and the wind is fierce. There is no communication. Of course in a moment like this all phones have lost their ability to connect.You need a new phone card. Dead battery. No answer. It's not like anyone driving down the highway will stop because your ranch is about to catch fire. It's not their problem.... Carmela the rancher grows serious and determined. The little people begin to cry.... - we each have our reactions-the innocent tears, the protectress-the Lioness roars; In one moment everything seems to be volatile-I have no idea what to do...the wind whips the land harder and the emotions rise to a new level of intensity...my gut is in my heart or is it the other way around? I anxiously try to remain calm and go to those places in memory when there is nothing to do but wait out the storm- or look for a calm line in the midst of chaos. I envision being above a rapid in Grand Canyon.... I remember what it means to be in the calm of the hurricane.... It is my position to be calm and steady for those I love. My heart aches for the land, the ranchito, the history that could be lost. It aches with an unrequited feeling of love. Lalito whispers in a tight voice, " I wish I could be in Las Cruces..." he fights to be brave and crocodile tears escape his child's eyes....This is real. This is his history. This is his legacy he can barely comprehend in this moment that I doubt will ever be forgotten. We drive down the highway to sit and watch fate play out. The fire, bright orange moves rapidly a line of line. It jumps the mesquite fence and across the dirt road dividing the neighbors field and the ranch. We move again, Carmela commanding the Blazer as if it were a horse. We drive down the road watching the fire sprout in ten places at once...we go in reverse and retreat to wait at the gate. The children's hands squeeze mine and I squeeze back.
We drive aggressively towards the fire that leapt out of control from a neighboring field. The children grow pensive...my personal thoughts give way and become very small. Carmela resigns to prayer; "there is nothing we can do but pray."

I visualize Our Lady of Guadalupe and St. Jude, the saint who helps with the impossible. We hold hands tight and I watch the little ones squeeze their eyes....What do I say? We focus on the color of love. What color is it? "RED," Lalito says... "Pink," says Virginia. I close my eyes and see the flames. I verbalize what I imagine.... Imagine a big swirl of red, and pink....it gets bigger and bigger....Imagine we are blowing away the fire....breathe in and blow it all out....the children's eyes are still shut tight. Their lips pucker and blow and blow....salty tears bubble from their lips so soft and sweet like angels imploring God..."please make the wind stop." The color swirls of love make me dizzy as I feel their little hands in mine. I see the concern on Carmela's face; I feel the steadfastness of what I imagine her father would have shown in a moment like this and I see him in her discerning face. There are no tears- her jaw is set...and she doesn't have time for pity or fear. She faces into the storm like a captain at sea which is the desert- wind in her hair. There is no room for cowards in this harsh, beautiful land. The swirl of our hearts love intermingle in the silence of the car and it rolls out the open window with our every breath. When I reopen my eyes and pull the little people closer to me I feel what it must be like to be a mother for a moment. I think of all the mothers of the world facing their fears,comforting their children in the madness of war, destruction-natural and man made. I experience the loss of control and the fierce tenderness to steer through the storm I am witnessing. The dark cloud has receded across the horizon and I can't tell if it's my imagination or real, but the wind seems to have calmed down.

Miraculously the phone rings. The ranch is burning- hurry back. Carmela's son is in El Pueblo 45 minutes away after just having left the ranch an hour ago. The saying is true-anything can happen at any time....he had just been at the ranch and now turns back from the Pueblo to return to come meet us. We wait and watch. The wind IS subsiding... a calm descends; the fires burn.... It is truly a moment of relief. I wish Berto was here. I wish Melissa was here. I wish it would stop burning.... time is indifferent and there is no discerning how it passes; so slowly, so quickly. 'He should be here NoW," Carmela says eyes straining down the highway....and surely in that moment her son's truck makes the turn down the ranch road; People are in back; Melissa, Berto, her cowboy,Aristero- Marcello, the tall slow boy from el Pueblo. Another set of ranch hands has been deployed from Corralitos comes from the other direction. We all jump out of the cars and embrace. "Your knight in shining armor-' Carmela announces... and just like in the movies, Berto sweeps me up into his arms and kisses me long and hard...
and then we are all running with whatever tools, shovels, blankets, clothes we have to chase the fires down....It is dusk now...
the mountains in the distance purple and gold. It is amazing to see each tuft of dried grass instantly ablaze....I run with my camera and follow the cowboys from Corralitos....we branded cattle together a year ago....we move in a circle; smoke and flames; swinging arms wildly and stomping out the flames- I look through the viewfinder of my camera clicking away....and I hear the cowboys singing....this song I don't understand brings the first tears to my eyes...we are all running in the darkening light. The children stay close with Carmela cheering us on...the excitement is contagious and we move in unison containing each patch of flame. The smell of mesquite like incense in a church is surreal and holy....I pour water and give it the men to drink and to douse out the burning fence posts. The ranch has been saved!

The sky is full of storm clouds as the sun goes down and I am amazed,elated and awed as the cloud takes the form of a giant dove wings outstreched n the last light of the day-the bird of peace,it's breast is ablaze with the colors of love red and pink glow from it's heart. We walk the road smiling and working, the kids cheering us on- all of watching for the dying embers; everyone smiles with dirt, smoke and something within us we never knew we had before the storm. On the drive home the children curled into Berto's and I's lap and we drive home in the dark....I think about how the storms of our times threaten us with fear and hate; the drug wars, the border walls - It seems impossible to do anything about, and yet this fire has shown me
what it will take to overcome the impossibility of it all in times yet to come. In the eye of the storm, the innate goodness, the love for land and country, our family , and Love and Faith enduring.

18 May 2009

Let the world change you and you can change the world.

Che! the most reproduced photo in the world. I watched "THE MOTORCYCLE DIARIES"the other night and again was moved by this beautiful film; it made want to go travel and DO SOMETHING! It made me remember why I love people, photography and stories. It made me want to dream. I was trying to explain who CHE Guevara was/ is to my novio Beto who is learning about the world of books and photography as we explore our relationship and the different worlds we've experienced. What could I say about Che, the guy in the movie who keeps a diary and goes on to change the world. That he was a revolutionary know for wearing a beret with a star on his head; His image emblazoned on everything from murals, baseball hat, t-shirts and stickers. I was interested to learn more about Che Guevara who was beloved and made into an icon because of this photograph and the Cuban revolution. I am amazed that many people don't know much about him including myself. The photographer never really made any money on his image but both the creator and the muse live on beyond the timespan of their lives. Here's a good story about the image itself.
WestLicht Gallery Reconsiders Che Guevara in Photography Exhibit in Vienna
Music about Che Guevara with translations;

04 May 2009

Beloved Pan and all ye other Gods who here abide....

Beloved Pan and all ye other Gods who here abide.
Help us to be beautiful in the Inner Man
and of all we have of outer things
to be at PEACE with those within.

A-WOMAN. I like to add this whenever I can : )

LIfe is but a dream..... My homie, my novio and muse Beto and I took the boat Running made when he was here and took it to the water park, the Ojito. It is the spring that fed Paquime and still it's natural spring waters run through the pueblo. It is an oasis of heaven on earth. It is the time of the Beltane; spring rites and love; in the times of continued fear and loathing in the US of A I am sorely disappointed at the news media for escalating the hype; repeat information without context. Where's the truth and Love? so when the worlds gone mad and everyone is putting on their mask and avoiding the hugs and kisses we so desperately need Beto and I took to the spring in the desert. Of course it was closed but because we became instant family we were allowed in-just us and the gardeners and an open boat.

Beto's father was killed many years ago in a sad and tragic death here at Colonia San Diego. Bennett died six years ago in an auto accident. I've been reading to Beto about how we make peace with the past; how do we carry our scars of loss and grief. How do we have courage to continue? to love ourselves and forgive those who've gone? I dip into the words of Clarrisa Pinkola Estes-author of Women who Run with Wolves....our emotions are like a boat that carry us. I am just so happy to be in paradise in the midst of the "crisis"...here is a peace on earth. The sun, the wind, the feeling of spring green. I appreciate Beto's openness to listen and to indulge my visual quest....When my dad was here he made this boat to work with Kim his friend and model. They weren't able to use it and it became a bird roost for Ms.Emi. We took it down for the wedding of our friends and so it is how it became to be in my car as we drove through the dirt roads and barrios looking for the placid calm of water.

I feel this foto is about surrender; being on a journey to meet ones self in nature, to be free, to embrace Self and the world.
I am reminded of the beloved poem/grace by Socrates Spencer recites; all of the lines are woven into this feeling I so wish for the world during this time of Beltane and Pan. Here's a link about spring rites by Eric Francis.

This is to peace.To LOVE; to GRACE....To the green of life.

29 April 2009

In a land not so far away....

Why I am so happy to return to this country I have come to love as if is LIFE itself? Because I see and meet people who share their cultures with me.

PORK QUE? Swine flu,fear and loathing and a kiss or two.

I dont' watch TV so I was a bit uninformed the other day about the next wave of fear that was sweeping the collective conscious. I was in disbelief. What ELSE is wrong with Mexico? Why does my country always want to blame their neighbors to the south....When will my country take stock and take responsibility for it's 'drug problem' and our constant blame to always start a fight pitting US against THEM....sigh. It makes me sad and disappointed....IF only I could show the world what I've come to learn from my humble pueblo in the south about what it means to be human....I still think our current policies are making us less so...but I do have hope and I do love my country for what it once was...and hope it can grow into the vision not necessarily of the American Fathers but maybe those who lived here and still remain like the HOPIs. Such a vast and different viewpoint.

So I am eating pork everyday in protest. I savor it in all it's forms. In a taco with Chipotle salsa; Roasted in my mini oven with lime, chiles, and soy sauce served with rice and beans steamed with a real free range chicken egg- a little Chino Latino for breakfast with Costa Rican Tica sauce. I am mindful of every bite I take, savoring "the other white meat".

Horacio, who invited me to sit with his family at his father's grave site during Day of the Dead usually greets me with a hug and kiss like most people greet you here...he wasn't kissing or shaking hands...and I didn't understand until he explained....he's not sick...nor is anyone I know here.... I offered my conspiracy thoughts and told him with the US Media is fear crazy. What about the Bird Flu and the all the corporations whose main concern is their bottom line....at the expense of people, food and the environment.... ; I suggested he turn off his TV and play some LoS Panchos instead; by the end of our visite I had him laughing and thinking a bit different- I think he appreciated the perspective cause he decided he could kiss me after all.

I think the MEDIA is making our country sick....and it needs to be reformed...we got to get back to being HUMAN and start questioning where we get our information and see how it's effecting our lives. My friend Diego from Mata Ortiz wrote me in response yesterday , "I am kissing everybody!!!!!!! Today we went grocery shopping to Nuevo and some crazy ladies were using masks and touching every vegetable???????????" For some reason this made me laugh! Ah YES! WE do need to kiss everyone....and it made me think that what we really need to do is get back to really hugging and loving one another in these overly paranoid times that is doing more damage than good.

For a little alternative media I suggest reading the following-. there are more people than one would think who are not buying into it. Looking at all the other responses will definitely make you go hmmmmm.....and as my old boatman running mate would say, " makes you think about it...."

PLANETWAVES.net Wake up and Smell the $$$

Marianne Williamson: Power of Prayer

28 March 2009

A Meeting with Yosemite Sam

I was taken by his hat and got out my Mariachi Mobile and went the opposite direction I had planned just to go SEE him. We both were looking in the window of the local costume shop when I asked if I could do his portrait. He said he doesn't really like having his picture taken...it takes too long; but he agreed and later showed up at our studio with his old 1851 Navy Colt pistol....what a cool ol' guy whose name is actually Cole. It was great to share my photos of the Mexican horse culture in Chihuahua as he really appreciated the spirit of the people. He said, "why do we need a passport? It's mexico!: and I agreed with him. This was his favorite hat he got in Puerto Vallarta. It made me feel good inside and confirmed again why I love people and being a photographer because it allows me to meet people like Cole, a person true to his life and himself.

15 March 2009

Crossing borders,Dutch Babies,Tucson Book FEST and layers of self

I crossed back into the USofA thursday after three months in Mexico. A man was selling the Virgin of Guadalupe in Auga Prieta. It's a long line. On the US side I am flagged for having two bottles of alcohol but really I think it's because they've run me through their system noting I had never crossed here before. I have no desire to cross here again. Better to go to Naco or Palomas. It is so hard to disengage from this country I love.

I cross over the mountains from Chihuahua into Sonora playing tag with the old trucks winding down the steep mountain grade. I hit the flatlands. I see a SUV pull quickly off the road and a gaggle of men leap out, run and disappear into the creosote like deer. A part of me wanted to follow them but this isn't the line I'm following. I wonder would I? What could possibly happen? Anything could. What would it mean to meet and photograph men in the desert...maybe sometime I will.
Black and white images from EXODUS, a book by Charles Bowden and Julián Cardona flash in refracting light of the windshield. I look down the road after quickly turning my head having slowed down to watch and wonder in this brief flash of reality; the sun pierces my eyes. I see dust rise from tennis shoes,backpacks, ballcaps,jeans;Five, or seven brown skin men are faceless to me but I wonder if they have enough water; how far will they walk? where did they come from? All I know it's desperate, and hard to follow a dream for a better life. What does it feel like to run, rest, walk an unknown distance and meet an unknown fate? I know I will think of them for a long time.

I am returning home via Tucson stopping to stay with my friend Kelly and feed my book lust at the Tucson Book Festival. Kelly introduces me to her wonderful community of friends who are involved in the community gardens, water harvesting systems, and artists. It is fun to be with a gaggle of grrls sleeping on her floor, with the purr of cats and strong dark coffee. We begin the day eating Dutch Babies. Supersized, baked, pancake crepes each made with a bar of butter at Janet and Pollice's house. Janet does really amazing glass paintings. Whimsical, and bright. Their garden and home full of spring flowers and sunshine. We laugh,drink strong coffee, and savor the deliciousness slathered in strawberries, orangezest and brandy....They lend me a bicycle, a pink Flyer and we ride to the bookfest with our flowered skirts flyin' right out of the Sound of Music.

It is great to see so many books and writers whose books I have carried around for years; Jimmy Santiago Baca, Alfredo Vea', Juan Felipe Herrera, Demetria Martinez. All of us older, Alfredo now a new father in awe of his baby daughter. I get to meet Charles Bowden;ironically he is speaking with Katie Lee-their panal "the murder of the west". I find I it a bit disconcerting; maybe it's because since I was a kid family friends who knew Katie said she hated kids and it's obvious she still has no value for youth. I find myself impatient and fighting the dialogue so early in the morning. Maybe it's because I find the dialogue to be selfish and possessive of a land that once belonged to traveling clans and now displaced indiginous peoples; Mexicans-Indians; I look around the audience and I don't see any brown or really young faces....It bothers me when wilderness is coveted only for what seems a select few....I've seen this in my time working in Grand Canyon as a river guide; let me just say people of color in the bottom of Grand Canyon are as rare the humpback chub and the willow fly catcher.....I wonder if Katie Lee has any idea that "her" Glen Canyon could have been Aztlan? There is something exclusive and possessive that bothers me. How do we impart to others how "we" belong to nature and become aware of stewardship,accountability,and empathy, compassion and relationship to one another? I am just put off because of Katie but I like Charle's voice and I've admired his writing and truth for years. I love that he collaborates with photographers but I'm surprised actually when he suggests people shouldn't go to Mexico. There is so much fear already about the border....I think I should have spoken up to tell the audience people should go to Mexico and break down the borders person to person. Kelly and I share a love for Mexico and the Mexican people. We are like restless school girls fidgeting in our seats. I want to stay to get my book of INFERNO signed...but she leaves and goes to see Edgar Cota Torres instead.

I meet him and feel a solidarity with him instantly; I wish he and Charles could have been paired up....a dialogue verse a rant. I want to see and learn so much more than what time will allow. There is the poetry of Juan Phillipe Herrera, Demetria Martinez, and the panel with Ann Cummins, Alfredo Vea',Elizebeth McKenzie- there is an exchange; I still appreciate how listening makes me think; Vea' speaks of the shadow of characters who live in the light. We are all human. Why is there cruelty and why is it so hard to talk about it. We need to be truthful so we may have reconciliation. 'Miracles exist in knowing and loving each other....the spiritual within us not in our race or nationalism."

We meet Jimmy and join him with his friends at dinner at the poets David and Judy Ray. The layers of self unfold in each story; in the art and in the poetry over wine and delicious food. How beautiful and poignant the night. Tender, melancholic,hopeful.
light and shadow....I learn of writers who begin writing at 40, 60; Penelope Fitzgerld, and the artist Elizebeth Layton whose contour drawings saved her from depression when she was in her 50's. It's truly inspiring to see how the 'shadow' of our lives can lead us into the light-the layers of ourselves Vea' spoke of; who we've been and who we become. To meet ourselves in the mirror every morning and SEE ourselves.
a personal sharing of truths and the forgiveness we struggle to make with ourselves.

I am a photographer learning how to write.