At this point, with over seven hundred posts, thousands of photographs, almost a hundred videos, and five years on line as Scotttreks, it seems like a simple Dedication of the effort is due..
Many, if not all, literary works, art, music, drama and dance presentations have dedications, moments at the front of the effort that recognize significant influences on the person who has taken the time and effort to put things out there for others to enjoy, analyse, pan, or profit from.. Sometimes it is a wife, children, teachers and mentors who get the nod. Sometimes it is personal secretaries and editors who help ideas get to a place they can be loosed on the world, Sometimes dedications are to God, Muses, spirits and traditions
There are plenty of places and people to Dedicate Scotttreks too,but it seems right to thank my parents for giving me their name, their attention, their love and concern.
While they haven’t put the words in my mouth or on paper, haven’t suggested what I do with my life, they always wanted the best for us that we could make for ourselves.
This little blog, with places still to go and time left to go there, is dedicated to Julia Ann and James Lowell.
I like to think they are reading the blog, wherever they are, happy that I am happy writing it.
Halloween creeps closer as leaves start to fall, pumpkins appear in windows, hot air balloons arrive for the annual Balloon fest in Albuquerque, creepy spiders turn up in school cafeterias and jackets become more than optional.
It is a sparkling day and these three skeletons, in an Albuquerque North Valley front yard, don’t dress up, worry about hair style or designer clothes. They look content in their birthday suits without the excess weight, blemishes and imperfections that the rest of us have to carry wherever we go.
Next holiday season, I will set up my front yard like this too, but give my skeleton family a television to watch Netflix, game shows, soaps, or Dr. Phil.
In a few weeks this congregation will put on their Pilgrim outfits and be chasing turkeys around the yard with hatchets. A few weeks after that, they will be hanging Christmas lights in these front yard evergreens and singing carols by a manger,surrounded by animals and angels, Mary and Joseph, welcoming Baby Jesus to the planet nuthouse.
Bones keep popping up in Scotttreks, and, to be honest, we all need one day a year when creepy stuff camps in our front yard and ghosts and goblins have their say.
The last thought that hits me, between my ears,as I speed away in my car, is that if we had to wash each of our bones, our showers would take all day and family members would rightfully want to kill us.
R.I.P. is not bad advice, whether we are skeletons, or not.
The season of spooks and goblins, pumpkins and puritans is approaching.
Our local Home Depot has dedicated aisles and displays to Halloween and looking for utility wire and masonry nails to secure a few plants to my back yard block wall, so they will grow up straight and be out of the path to the back of my house, I am greeted by grisly figures and demons from the spirit world..
There are ghosts peering down at shoppers from higher shelves, opening their arms and long thin fingers to grab us as we walk underneath. There are green skeletons and little girl apparitions in white dresses that I wouldn’t want knocking at my door any time of day or night. All of the props in this holiday section are properly scary but not scary enough to make little kids cry. Most parents, these days, take their kids to school or church functions where it is safer than walking them house to house in neighborhoods where they don’t know their neighbors.. It is hard to figure how a Christian country, like ours used to be, could perpetuate Halloween on any scale.
Even more grisly than these blown up spectacles is what comes on the 24/7 news scream.
There is much to be scared of in this Devil’s playground but I don’t see much reason to celebrate Old Scratch.
Elevating him and his minions to holiday status to sell merchandise seems a bit short sighted and counter productive, but altogether human.
Saving us from ourselves was even too much for Jesus.
I’m lucky today. Home Depot has my utility wire and masonry nails.
When stores stop having what we depend on, we are really going to see evil spirits come out to play.
Smaller things have been boxed till all the brother’s come to Albuquerque and we go through old photos, personal and business letters, ancient sales receipts, copies of contracts completed, old coins, mementos from family trips and reunions, political pins, Time magazines and National Geographic’s, items of clothing that don’t fit any of us.,
Seeing these boxed items out of their original places is disconcerting.
What is more difficult than disposing of stuff is doing a final accounting with the memories they link too.
How we hold thousands and thousands of memories, between our ears, and still manage to function is very much a miracle.
We all have our memories but we can’t always easily give them away, trade them for a newer model, or sell them at the flea market.
This stuff comes with lots of memories, and when it is out of sight, we will move back to living instead of grieving.
As soon as we say we haven’t seen any deer the last several hikes, we spot some.
This family unit nips leaves off branches, ears cocked, knowing we were here long before we spotted them. They are large animals with delicate faces, soft lips, long tongues, long thin legs that don’t seem they could support the deer’s big bodies, large wide open, alert, eyes and ears.
I pause to take photos,and ,in this natural setting, the animals are majestic.
When American prairies were covered by huge buffalo herds, the Plains Indians would say prayers before riding into the sea of buffalo and bringing a few down for their basic needs. I say a little prayer for these deer this morning as the sun comes over the Sandia’s and the humming of I-40 freeway traffic grows louder through Tijeras Canyon. It is currently bow hunting season in these mountains and the bucks are at risk.
I wish these guys and girls good luck this morning and pray hunters this year are lousy shots.
I don’t know, for sure, but I think I see a big buck pointing a big telephoto lens at me, getting closeups for his own Facebook page..
Going through a hunting season as the target doesn’t seem like much fun but these guys and girls seem pretty nonchalant considering the price on their heads.
Hiking to see nature is always better when you see some nature.
At an annual celebration of the famed World War 2 correspondent, Ernie Pyle, at his home in Albuquerque, N.M., a docent tells the small group about the permanent closing of Pyle’s childhood home, in his birthplace,in Indiana. As the docent continues, he reminds his aging audience of the steady inexorable disappearance of American history, the necessity of knowing our collective past.
Ernie Pyle was a celebrated World War 2 correspondent, but, today, there are many Americans who don’t know much about World War 2 except what they see in the movies. They don’t know Ernie Pyle, or Julius Caesar, or Frederick Douglas. They believe the American Civil War was only about the abolishment of slavery and the United States Constitution is outdated and irrelevant, written by stuffy white men who owned slaves and wore white wigs..
Where does history go when it is behind us?
Does God put His memos, research papers,videos and photos on shelves in his personal library? Does he go back and review his plans and progress for the Universe, make changes in the roll out of his vision ? Does knowing history mean we can stop or modify what is happening to us while we are in the middle of its happening?
On this pleasant afternoon, we are taken on a guided tour of Ernie Pyle’s life and times, in a place he fixed bacon and eggs for breakfast and read his newspaper thrown on the front porch by a neighborhood boy on a bicycle.
His house feels like a home and I walk away suspecting that Ernie would offer me a cold drink of lemonade on a hot summer day and have some good jokes to soften the wounds of World War 2 as we both set at a little table on the front porch with empty vistas of the Rio Grande Bosque several miles away.
He came from humble roots but was placed in the middle of one of the worst wars in human history.
His writings and his home survive him, and remembering is something we can still do for him.
Ernie volunteered for the war but some would say reporting on everyday Joe’s from the front lines was his destiny.
The beauty of his writing is that it seems like it was written for everybody but him.
Ernie Pyle was a simple Indiana kid who liked to write and travel and found both as a World War 2 correspondent for Scripps-Howard newspapers.
He purchased a house in Albuquerque in the 1940’s and lived in it with his wife and dog Cheetah, till he was killed in the war he reported on. In his memory, his house has been turned into a National Landmark, and, once a year, there is a celebration of his life and achievements.
The house is a simple wood framed, pitched roof bungalow with shade trees around it. When Ernie moved into it, Albuquerque was a sleepy little town and he would have been on the edge of town with an unobstructed view of spectacular NM sunsets. Now the neighborhood is aging and close to the University of New Mexico where he would have taught journalism if he had survived the war that wouldn’t let him escape.
The celebration of his life is low key like he was, and, on a table in the library, where he used to read books by the fireplace, are personal letters to him from Presidents of the United States, military medals, and commendations for his war reporting. His prose is a simple yet strong as the home he built for himself.
This Pulitzer prize winning journalist was killed by a sniper’s bullet in the Pacific and he died as many of the soldiers he lovingly and respectfully wrote about that showed folks back home what their loved ones were enduring.
It is good to have a day to remember, if only once a year, those who have given so much.
Forgetting is all too easy but the wars just keep on coming.
The reflection of the clouds,on the lake’s calm surface,quiver. The reflection of the forest’s trees, on the lake’s surface, reaches across the lake almost to the bank we are fishing from and look as if trees themselves are growing out of the lake, right in front of me.
If I had a long enough arm, I could reach down and scoop up these clouds in the palm of my right hand and they would wiggle like the fishing earthworms we just dug up in a close by field.
I know the clouds and forest on the lake’s surface are reflections. The real clouds are in the sky and the real forest covers the rugged mountain sides directly to the south of us, across Hermit’s Lake.
If my mind can be even temporarily fooled by nature’s slight of hand, how much more of what I see is not what is really there?
When scientists come up with better measuring sticks, we might start seeing more of the world as it is, not fooled by reflections, optical illusions, mirages, black holes, mirrors and miracles..
There will, on that day, as Jerry Lee Lewis sings in his rollicking rock and roll classic,be ” a whole lot of shaking going on.”
An old man with a cane shuffles past us in the grocery, squinting to read the fine print on a box label.Two little children pull on their mom’s dress at the bank as she makes a deposit and reaches them a sucker out of a little bowl on the teller’s countertop. A homeless vet passes our vehicle to take a dollar from a hand reaching out of the window back of us. We don’t talk to the politician rushing past us to hold up a baby and smile for news cameras.
On the road to Westcliff, I pass a black wagon pulled by a black horse, driven by a young man wearing a black hat, black pants and black vest, a white shirt, with a reddish beard. He pulls his horse and wagon towards the shoulder as I go past, and I wave. I watch him in my rear view mirror as he goes another block, then pulls his horse and wagon into a little drive leading to a country house on the other side of a closed gate.
Amish, from Pennsylvania, have come to this part of Colorado and the San Luis Valley for farming, solitude, the ability to worship as they choose, to raise their families in an old way, and drive to town in a wagon pulled by their favorite horse.
This, my first Amish sighting of the season, makes me wonder how they can maintain their traditions in the onslaught of 21st century propaganda, polemics, politics and problems?
The march of 21st century technology, information, control and surveillance, secularism, is crushing.
Seeing a horse and wagon on the road is like seeing an old John Wayne movie on television.
It pictures a way of life, long gone, that some folks still never want to leave.