Friday, June 7, 2019

Tucson, AZ: S'Early Sunrises

Sunrise, Tucson, Arizona. April 2019.

I don't know when I first noticed it, but. Damn. I get up wake up so early in Tucson.

Sunrise, Tucson, Arizona. April 2019.

When I first noticed this pattern, I figured I'd go back to my usual natural waking-up time of 6:00 or 6:30 after I acclimated to the time difference between here and Central Time, but no. I wake up at FIVE. Sometimes 4:30.

Sunrise, Tucson, Arizona. April 2019.

This morning, the sun rose in Tucson at 5:16 a.m. The rising business does not fuck around in Tucson. The sun is up and ready for business for the day.

The sun rose in St. Louis at 5:35 Central Time this morning. So it's not all that different from Tucson. But I didn't have this issue in St. Louis. Or El Paso. Or Lafayette. Or Opelousas. Or Alamogordo.

Maybe it's not the time so much as the fact that my bedroom window faces almost due east, and I have my blinds open to catch the breeze through my window screen. So the sunshine bounds in like a big ol' retriever pup, wanting to trounce on my bed.

 An entertaining conversation here: Phoenix: The City of Early Risers

Sometimes I do rise at 5 or 5:30, just to make coffee, and go back to bed for another half hour. But many times, I just get up for the day.

There are repercussions. I get up so early, then get sleepy during the day, and I go to bed early. Like super early. Think 9:00 p.m.

So far, my conclusion is that I don't like this getting-up-so-early business.

On the bright side (get it?), I do have the privilege of witnessing some spectacular rays.

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Tucson, AZ: Sunset at Hacienda del Sol

Sunset, Hacienda del Sol, Tucson, Arizona. June 2019.

I climbed to Hacienda del Sol for a mood-elevating, compound prescription of: one sunset, one live music set, one glass of wine, my silence among the ambient conversation of others, and cool evening air on my skin and in my hair.

A video, featuring a cameo hummingbird visit:

What the terrace musician did to one of my top 10 favorite songs of all time - House of the Rising Sun - deserves jail time for his perversion of it. But perhaps one could say the same of my yellow-blown sunset photo at the top of this page. So. Live and let live.

Hacienda del Sol, Tucson, Arizona. June 2019.

Two pleasing memories emerged when I entered the premises. One was of the venerable Casa Santo Domingo in Antigua, Guatemala. The other was of the lakeside Lewi Resort (the "new new Lewi") in Awassa, Ethiopia. The flowers, the soft-lit niches for solo or coupled quiet spaces, the graceful curves of archways, the warm structural surfaces. Softscapes balancing hardscapes. Solicitous, but not too solicitous, staff.

Hacienda del Sol, Tucson, Arizona. June 2019.

If I visit Hacienda del Sol again, I'll seek a better view than the terrace, either at a window table in the restaurant or on the plush grass that is in front of the restaurant-bar entrance. That lawn looked very inviting for a bite or beverage.

Hacienda del Sol, Tucson, Arizona. June 2019.

Hacienda del Sol, Tucson, Arizona. June 2019.

Monday, June 3, 2019

Tucson, AZ: Sunset at Unity

Unity on Third Avenue and Grant, Tucson, Arizona. June 2019.

On Sunday evening, I examined the imposing sculpture on the corner of Third Avenue and Grant. Having driven past a number of times previously, it had struck me as a grand piece of public art on a prosaic bit of real estate in midtown Tucson.

Unity on Third Avenue and Grant, Tucson, Arizona. June 2019.

It's called Unity. The artists are Ben Olmstead and Simon Donovan.

Unity on Third Avenue and Grant, Tucson, Arizona. June 2019.

It was a lagniappe to investigate the art work as sunset approached. Whereas the moon adores El Paso and Juarez, the sun enjoys making flamboyant exits in Tucson.

Unity on Third Avenue and Grant, Tucson, Arizona. June 2019.

I admire Tucson for installing a beautiful - and large! - work of art along a rather ordinary stretch of street, but through which so much traffic flows.

Art that is accessible to most, irrespective of income, lifts all of our spirits. It walks our talk of the unalienable right to the pursuit of happiness.

Below is a slide show of more Unity photos:

Unity on Grant

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Flashback: Rootless Lit: The Devil's Highway

Near Antelope Wells port of entry, New Mexico. March 2013.

One of the reasons I chose Tucson as my tourist-in-residence this year is The Devil's Highway, by Luis Alberto Urrea. I was still rooted when I read this book, but it planted a seed.

It is so especially difficult to read again, in today's shameful time, as refugees flee to the United States from Central America and other areas, about what it's like to die from thirst.

"Rootless lit" - Literature that speaks to travel, migration, displacement, exploration, discovery, transience, divesting of stuff, or portability. 

Rootless lit book review: The Devil's Highway: A True Story, by Luis Alberto Urrea

Credit: Amazon

This is the story of the desert passage immigrants make between Mexico and the U.S. Many die en route because of lack of water and the heat. More specifically, it is the story of the Yuma 14, (Washington Post, Thursday, May 24, 2001, by Giovanna Dell'orto) when fourteen men from one group died in 2001.

There were parts of this book, especially at the end, where it was painful to read. Mr. Urrea described the final hours of the dead in vivid, personal detail. One description particularly stands out for its horrific sadness. A survivor reported: "One of the boys went crazy and started jumping up and down. He started screaming, 'Mama! Mama! I don't want to die!' He ran up to a big cactus and started smashing his face against it. I don't know what his name was." The boy was 16 years old.

About another who died, Mr. Urrea wrote: "Nobody knows the name of the man who took off all his clothes. It was madness, surely. He removed his slacks, folded them, and put them on the ground. Then he took off his underwear, laid it neatly on the pants. He removed his shirt and undershirt and squared them away with the pants. As if he didn't want to leave a mess. ...He lay on his back and stared into the sun until he died."

I like how Mr. Urrea spoke for the dead as they rode in their body bags in the air-conditioned hearses.

Mr. Urrea's description of the Border Patrol's activities seemed nuanced and even-handed to me. He offers thoughtful notes in the last chapter regarding the financial costs and benefits of undocumented migrants, of other violences perpetrated in and around the desert border.

It's difficult to describe Mr. Urrea's writing style other than to say it is personal, often in second person narrative. His portrayal of almost all of the players in the undocumented migration universe is empathetic. Exceptions are the drug gangsters and the coyotes they run, plus certain aspects of the Mexican government machine.

Whatever one's position on migration, this book forces the reader to acknowledge the immigrants' humanity. At least for a day or two.

Columbus - Puerto Palomas port of entry, New Mexico. April 2013.