Monthly Archives: September 2014

“[A] quickening of the heart when [we] crossed into Arizona and beheld the cactus country” (Dorothy Belle Hughes)

Saguaro cactus lined our route to Scottsdale, Arizona, the last stop on our road trip before hitting our starting point in Southern California.  In Scottsdale, we visited Steve and Pam Schnoor, transplants from Seattle, who showed us the area’s natural history and cultural sights.  We couldn’t resist going to a Seahawks sports bar to watch the Hawks beat the Broncos in overtime.

canyonlands to scottsdale

 Our route to Scottsdale took us close to four corners, the only spot in the U.S. where four states share a common boundary.

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The Dessert Botanical Garden displays many cactus species.

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Hard to believe this one’s size.

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These shimmering ad exotic specimens hail from the Chihuly Glass Studios in the Pacific Northwest.

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Desert flowers provide much appreciated relief in the sometimes stark landscape.

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Paolo Soleri, an architect, urban designer, artist, craftsman, and philosopher, pursued his vision of the an ecology based city in the desert highlands.  Proceeds from his bells funds this effort.   For more about Soleri see

https://arcosanti.org/

20Scottsdale5. soleri bells

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The Seahawks fans in Scottsdale erupt during the close rematch with the Denver Broncos.

Roosevelts

Ken Burns’ series on the Roosevelts engaged our evenings and provided a valuable perspective on our nearly completed cross country adventure.

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“Get Back” Part 4: Canyonlands

In 1976, Eric spent two weeks backpacking in Canyonlands, Utah with the National Outdoor Leadership Schools.  Canyonlands’ other worldly beauty mesmerized Eric then and lured us a bit off our course to the west coast.  The side trip renewed our deep affection for this amazing place.

Map to Canyonlands

Our route from Los Alamos to Canyonlands took us through Colorado, where we spent the night in Mancos State Park.

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 Albatross view of Canyonlands.  Photo by QT Luong/terragalleria.com; all rights reserved.

http://www.terragalleria.com

16Utah24. Newspaper Rock

Newspaper rock broadcasts Archaic, Basketmaker, Fremont and Pueblo messages dating back over 2,000 years.

16Utah13. Canyonlands potholes

Potholes capture scarce moisture and maintain complex ecosystems.  Eric did not add water.

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Eulalie communes with large pot hole.

16Utah12. Canyonlands pictoglyphs

Pictograph.

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Light and shadows create surreal land scapes.

16Utah8. campsite

Tent site.

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Trinity: A Haiku

Los Alamos bombs.

War ending and world changing

Deadly brilliance.

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“[A] new factor in human affairs” (Winston Churchill)

Churchill’s reaction upon hearing of the successful test of the atomic bomb in New Mexico, quoted above, while accurate understates matters based on our visit to Los Alamos, home to the Manhattan Project and the atomic bomb.  See below for other reactions to the bomb’s entrance into world affairs.

bandelier to los alamos

Our route to Los Alamos.

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Fifty three milliseconds into the first the first bomb test, the blast looked like this.  “Now I am become death, the destroyer of worlds,” pronounced J. Robert Oppenheimer, scientific director of the Manhattan Project, after witnessing the explosion, quoting the Bhagavad-Gita.

hiroshima

Hiroshima.

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Display in Los Alamos museum showing memorabilia of the the 1946 test at Bikini Atoll in the South Pacific.  For more about Bikini see

http://www.bikiniatoll.com/

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Surplus naval ships encircled the Atoll to test their ability to survive the blast.

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A cake replicated the test, down to the naval ships.

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Reactions to the cake, above, captures some of the contemporary reaction to this new device.

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The tests had unintended consequences for those near ground zero.  The above link regarding Bikini Atoll describes some of these consequences.

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A sandstone block from 9/11 damage to the Pentagon forms the basis for this memorial outside the Los Alamos Science Museum.  A nearby plaque proclaims the “enduring and historic connections” between Los Alamos and the Pentagon’s national security mission.

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“[T]he stars snap, like distant coyotes” (attribution: DH Lawrence)

After departing Texas we headed for for New Mexico, where British author D. H. Lawrence spent much of his last years.  We explored Taos and Santa Fe where we absorbed much of the region’s prehistory and history and enjoyed its rich art heritage.   We learned of the centuries-long struggle over this land by the Pueblo Indians, Spanish, French, Mexicans, and the United States.  We spent two nights camping in Bandalier National Monument exploring ruins of the Ancient Pueblo people and being serenaded by coyotes under brilliant night skies.

Caprock to Taos

Our route from Caprock Canyons in Texas to Taos, New Mexico.  We subsequently traveled south to Santa Fe.

new spain

Our visit to New Mexico reminded us of our travels earlier this year in modern day Mexico and impressed on us the areal extent of Mexico and Spain’s reach into what is now the United States.

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In Taos, Eulalie toured the pueblo and learned of the Pueblo’s repeated efforts to resist subjugation.

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We enjoyed several of the Taos galleries.

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Santa Fe’s downtown area captured its old West spirit . . .

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and captivated us with its colorful art and history museum.

map to bandalier

An hour’s drive west brought us to Bandelier Monument.  Valles Caldera, noted on the map, is the site of the Jemez Volcano Caldera, created 1.1-1.5 million years ago.  The eruption generated 70 cubic miles volcanic debris (compared with Mount Saint Helen’s .3-.5 cubic miles).

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The volcano’s deposits were soft and deep enough for the Ancient Pueblos to carve and fashion into dwellings.

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Multi-family housing, Ancient Pueblo style.

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Eulalie on her way up to the penthouse suite.

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The view from the top; a kiva use for weaving and storage.

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Tsankawe is out side the main Monument boundary and easy to miss.

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Petroglyphys decorate the path to and from the plateau where the Ancient Pueblo lived.

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Pottery shards remain on the plateau.

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The Albatross on Bison

Elizabeth Jean albatross

Our travels east and west have taken us through the vast plains once home to thriving buffalo herds and the peoples the herds sustained.  Albatross provides two expositions on the bison.

BUFFALO MEDICINE

  • The buffalo is powerful medicine that is a symbol of sacrifice and service to the community.   The buffalo people agreed to give their lives so the American Indian could have food, shelter and clothing. 

  • The buffalo is also a symbol of gratitude and honor as it is happy to accept its meager existence as it stands proud against the winds of adversity.

  • The buffalo represents abundance of the Creator’s bounty and respect for all creation knowing that all things are sacred.

  • The buffalo represents a manifestation of the divine aspects of our being.

  • Because of its size, speed and sharp horns, buffalo can be dangerous when threatened.  People who hear the message of the buffalo spirit are reminded to temper their power in dealing with others and allow the tranquility and peace of the Buffalo Brother to enter their lives.  

  • Those with this totem need to remember to see the good in all things and not let their frustration store up inside them.

  • Unlike the European domesticated cow that places its rump toward approaching cold and faces away, the buffalo turns its head to face and stand firmly against raging storm.  This quality reminds us to have courage and face problems head-on.       

  • Buffalo unite against danger as buffalo cows defend their young, old and sick by forming a protective circle around them and the bulls form a circle around the cows.  If you see the buffalo circle in dream or vision, it may mean someone around you requires your strength to defend and honor them. Or, it is a call to unite with others to bring about positive change.   

  • The huge head of the Buffalo Brother signifies higher mental abilities that is grounded to Mother Earth by their tough bodies.

  • The buffalo teaches us how to eliminate our burdens by directing our energy in a balanced way. 

 http://www.manataka.org/page236.html#BUFFALO

If Buffalo has come stampeding into your life;

Is a reminder that you are always provided for and that your attitude towards abundance influences the rest of this planet. It is knowing that abundance is present when all relations are honored as sacred and when gratitude is expressed to every part of creation. Buffalo symbolism is prayer, gratitude and praise. Praying for the needs of all creatures, for harmony and giving praise for the gifts you have already received.

If Buffalo is your Animal Totem;

You must walk a sacred path, honoring every aspect of life. You will achieve nothing without the aid of the Spiritual Realms and you must be humble enough to ask for assistance and then be grateful for those gifts. A Buffalo totem will seek to help you establish a deep connection to the Earth and it will ask you to help the endangered species of our planet. He will bring you strength of character and an independent spirit. It is the totem of abundance. Do not push or force, but simply follow the easiest path.

If Buffalo has come to your Dreams;

It is a symbol of survival, strength, and power. The dream may also be a caution that you are deviating from your life path and goals. Alternatively, the dream can represent your heritage and your roots. In particular, if you see a white buffalo in your dream, then it means that your desires or wishes will be fulfilled.

To see an injured or killed buffalo, forewarns that you need to carefully think through any new ventures and projects that you are undertaking.

To see a herd of buffalo in your dream signifies tranquility and abundance.

http://spirit-animals.com/buffalo/

American_Bison_as_Totem_by_Ravenari

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“Deep in the heart of Texas” (attribution: June Hershey)

Following Nashville, our next stop on the Friends and Family road show was to visit our nephew John Page, deep in Texas’ heart–Dallas.   Our route took us through Arkansas to Texarkana, where we spent the night.  Then, on to Southern Methodist University where John has just started college.  After a tour of the stunning campus and dinner of designer tacos at the Velvet Taco, we drove to the Caprock Canyon State Park, home to Texas’ bison herd, and pitched our tent for the night.

Nashville to Dallas

Our route through Arkansas.

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We arrived at SMU in upper 90 degree heat.  Our nephew John Page showed us his campus.  Very impressive.

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The Velvet Taco’s unique tacos restored us after our campus tour.  Photo credit: Lori Bandi.

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In September 2011, 80 descendants of the great southern plains bison herd were released to roam 700 acres of grasslands in the park. From a safe distance, visitors can view these indigenous animals in their native habitat.  Photo courtesy of Caprock Canyon

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The real bison eluded us during our stay.

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We then turned our sights to the equally charismatic fauna, the prairie dog.

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and caught this one’s back side as he was hopping down into her burrow.

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“[We] could get drunk and run around Nashville naked.” (attribution Taylor Swift)

But we didn’t.  Instead while in Nashville, we visited Eric’s high school friend, Randall Thomas and Cheri Ferrari, Randall’s wife.  Randall and Cheri took us on a tour of Andrew Jackson’s estate.  The Hermitage provided detailed history regarding Andrew Jackson’s role in the War of 1812 and as seventh president of the United States.  The Hermitage has a new exhibit that focuses on the plantation’s slave families and their lives.   Following the history tour we all strolled through down Nashville on game day with Ole Miss.  At Jack’s (a Nashville tradition), we learned about meat and three (barbecue with three sides).  In the evenings the four of us enjoyed some finer dining that has made the City a foodie destination.

6Nashville7. mansion, front

Approaching the Hermitage’s front entry.  The mansion was built between 1819 and 1821.  The interior is well preserved and restored and includes original wall paper in some rooms.  For more information regarding the Hermitage and Andrew Jackson see:

http://www.thehermitage.com/jackson-family/andrew-jackson#.

 

6Nashville9. slave quarters (2)

Slave quarters.  The Jacksons started with 9 slaves.   At the time of his death, Jackson owned 150 slaves.

6Nashville11. downtown bar-b-q (1)

Eric and Randall striding purposefully towards Jack’s Barbecue.

Barbeque-Ribs

And a good time was consumed by all.

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“In my mind [we’re] going to Carolina” (attribution: James Taylor)

From our road trip’s outset it was in our mind to go to North Carolina, home to Eulalie’s youngest sister Janet and her husband John.  Janet and Eulalie are at opposite ends of the Sullivan sibling parade.  Janet refers to the two as the bookends.  In 1985, almost 30 years ago, Janet helped Eulalie drive our loaded Honda Civic from Juneau Alaska to Washington D.C.  The trip provided the two sisters (separated by 13 years) to compare notes on growing up Sullivan.  Enroute from Maryland’s Eastern Shore, we couldn’t resist visiting North Carolina’s Outer Banks.  Eulalie’s family visited the OBX (as the Banks are known) when they moved from New York to Florida the summer before Eulalie started college.  We caught the evening ferry from Ocrakoke to Cedar Island and drove to the Beaufort area to visit Keith Rittmaster, Mike Hill’s good friend, who presides over the Bone Zone, the North Carolina museum’s lab for marine mammal study.  Making our way further west, we stopped at Camp Mondamin, where Eric taught sailing during the summer of 1975.

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The Wright Brothers’ monument occupies the high ground from which the brothers tested their aerodynamic principles with glider flights.

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From the hill crest one can see the rock monuments marking the beginning and end points for the first four motorized flights on December 17, 1903.  The larger rock at the far intersection of the main path with the path to visitor center marks the starting point for each flight.  The next three rocks are closely spaced.  At the field’s far end, the last rock shows the last and longest flight.  The brothers chose this flat stretch for the motorized flights to establish that their plane could start and stop at the same elevation using only engine power to become airborne.

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A closer view of the markers beginning with the take off point.  The metal track to the right of the rock guided the plane as it accelerated to take off.  The flights were 120, 175, 200, and 852 feet respectively.  The longest lasted 59 seconds.

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Eulalie in front of a life size replica of the first flight.

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Close up of replica.

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The captain doing her own wind tests with a kite.

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The Cape Hatteras light house continues to warn mariners of the Diamond Shoals that have made the Cape a graveyard for the unwary.

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 Since Eulalie visited in 1972, the government moved the light house (all 1,250,000 bricks) because of erosion at the original sight.

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Keith Rittmaster, Natural Science Curator for the North Carolina History Museum, inside the Bone Zone with friend.

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A little assembly is still required for this one.

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The bottlenose dolphin was found ensnared in monofilament netting which is still visible in the mammal’s jaw.

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Echo, a sperm whale, that washed ashore at Cape Look Out in 2004, is one of Keith’s prides and joys.  Echo now hangs in the Beaufort Maritime Museum.  Photo: Beaufort Maritime Museum.

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The last word on blue crabs

The Blue Crab is the Chesapeake Bay area’s regional icon (not unlike the salmon is to the Northwest).  The Albatross shares his thoughts on the crab below. http://spirit-animals.com/crab/
Elizabeth Jean albatross
crab

If Crab has skittered across your path;

He is reminding you that not all paths lead directly to your personal goals. Sometimes a sideways approach is necessary. Shift your focus to what is all around you because your inner senses are trying to guide you through an easier way. Alternatively crab can be reminding you that community is vital for growth, however equally important is a time of introspective seclusion. Know when to withdraw and discern what is right for you.

Crab can also be letting you know that it is important to fuel your curiosity on all levels. Exploration of the world around you leads to discovering new horizons and a vibrant life.

If Crab is your Animal Totem;

You are usually very sensitive, shy and self-protective. Your trust must be earned. However once you befriend someone you become extroverted within their company. You enjoy exploring new challenges in life and have and your curiosity is never satisfied. You are constantly doing your inner work and deconstructing yourself and rebuilding who you are. You are always successful in reaching your goals but love to use unorthodox methods in getting there.

If Crab has come into your Dream;

When a crab comes into your dream it may signify that your perseverance and tenacity has born fruit. Abundance and success is at hand. Alternatively the Crab can also signify that you are hanging onto your emotions in a way that is causing you undue stress. Allow yourself to release your fear of “feeling” so that you can grasp the new gifts that are being offered right now.

totem-crab

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