Tucscon: Antigone Books, Farmer’s Market, Desert Mueum

Sometimes I think I travel far just to do what I like to at home–sit and read, look and stare, drink something hot, do a little low rent shopping…
This morning we went to a fabulous Farmer’s Market (one of Rich’s favorite forms of tourism). It was in St. Philip’s Plaza–an upscale shopping area with a nice plaza that includes fountains, tiled bancos, and saint statues. The market was bustling–several dozen vendors spread out under tents–with the usual dogs, children, and serious locovore shoppers. Jams, jellies, pickles, eggs, a knife grinder, greenhouse tomatoes, sequined bags from Mexico, tamales, empanadas (I ate a good one, Argentinian style), salsas, free coffee samples, and two sets of musicians. One–Francisco Gonzalez–was rocking out on a handheld harp.
I bought a miniature yellow chair and a red table from a woodworker. Why? I love miniature chairs, and I love the invocation of the setting–maybe for a tiny writer to sit at the desk.
Then on to the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum. It is so massive–and varied–part zoo (javalinas, wolves, coyotes)and part botanical garden. Wandered through cactus and in and out of eco-zones. The aviary was very magical with tons of juvenile mourning doves looking a bit witless but darling, and quail with those bobbing feathers like little headresses. Spent hours there, almost in a daze of nature and information, and stalks of coral bell flowers, purple shooting star datura, yellow composites. Had a beautiful picnic a few miles away in a landscape of saguaro and more classic Sonoran desertscape.
Then, seized with a desire for Antigone Books, we headed towards 4th Avenue only to find a street fair the size of a small city. A serendipitous parking spot brought us within blocks, and in fifteen minutes in the bookstore I found a stack of fascinating volumes I had never heard of. That, I think, is the irreplacable function of the independent bookstore–the buyers know more than the reader so browsing is an inspiration (rather than a disappointment the way it last was in our local chain.) Back at our car, Rich realized we were beneath an orange tree. No low-hanging fruit, but he managed to score an orange on tiptoes.
He said it was bitter, but he seemed pleased anyway.

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