3 Waterfalls and 4 Diners

Looking back at a recent trip in upstate New York with my husband Rich, I’m still thinking about tourism and pilgrimage. For example, we saw:

3 waterfalls

4 diners (in one the waitress had the same name as our cat, which was startling!)

5 farmer’s markets (5 for Rich, 3 for me)

John Brown’s Farm and grave


Harriet Tubman’s grave and house

Seneca Falls monument to the rights of women

3 Indian Mound archeological sites

Bela Bartok’s cabin in Saranac Lake where in the last year of his life he wrote his third piano concerto and viola concerto

a shrine to the Blessed Kateri

Robert Louis Stevenson’s cottage

Glimmerglass opera

All of these affected me, but in varying ways and degrees. Stevenson’s cottage was a cluttered tourist trap while Kateri had an exquisite chapel with Native American art. Some are tourist spots for everyone, but not everyone is collecting diners. Of course I cried at Harriet Tubman’s tomb, but the atmosphere was enhanced by dusk, a sprawling cemetery, and mounds in the background.

John Brown’s farm evinced confusing emotions—was he a hero or homegrown terrorist? The monument to him looked very patriarchal to my eyes but fascinatingly was put up in the 1930’s by an African-American club in Philadelphia dedicated to his memory.



The New York State historical signage is often atrocious to a New Mexican’s eyes—also dating from the 1930’s it is unabashedly expansionist and imperialist and heavy on the “savages.”

Years ago, someone costumed as a city worker with power tools removed the phrase “Savage Indians” from a monument on Santa Fe’s Plaza in my one my favorite guerrilla art acts of all time. Well, upstate New York’s historical signs could use a little editing.

Model Solar System

Oddly enough, the post on this blog that gets the most hits is about the model solar system in Moab, Utah. I suspect it pops up if you are googling something like “how to make a model solar system” with tennis balls and glue gun, which it isn’t. I do love such systems though, for both their science and science fiction absurdity.
To wit, earlier this month, Rich and I couldn’t resist a visit to the model solar system in Ithaca, New York. Of course it is named for Carl Sagan, my second cousin once removed, I’m happy to say.
Rich remembers: “Since the inner planets were under construction and some of us (i.e. Miriam) were getting tired we only visited the asteroids, Jupiter, and Saturn.”
The Moosewood Restaurant (yes, of cookbook fame) was near the asteroids, but alas, closed for lunch. Between Jupiter and Saturn folks were demonstrating for peace in the Mideast, more power to them.
As always, we enjoyed an overlay to our sense of travel. Fun just being in Ithaca in any case, and thinking about Ulysses, headed home from his own terrible war.

Poem by Rudy Rios

I travel for work around the state and write when I’m out in the hinterlands of NM. The following piece is about a jounrey I do frequently on Hwy 380 north of White Sands Missile Range.

“Lady and her Hawks” 11/1/13 by Rudy Rios

Eleven points of sunshine
circular momentum pushed on
two south too north
black tan reflected green
sage varnished blue.
Dry grass crunched under bovine
molars hooves wide open lands
prairie dry as sandman dust
click click caw caw
copper glass and oak on and on.
1945 double sun acres
dead mans journey
burnt mans death
a little one and a fat ones terror.
Accolades sand crushed rock petroleum toxins
cages cloud headlights mark
miner paths now speak
low buzz wingless bees
why cant they fly
the lady and her hawks?

Poem By Katherine Shelton

Can He Be Mine?

My wildhorse son, so late for dinner
His wilderness eyes, his flower hair, agate shoulders He doesn’t wait for anyone.
His arms and hands, cheetah bolting
grabbing spring, grabbing streets
He doesn’t take the bit, the rover, the wheeler hanging wild over western fences.
My son with black eyes, eyes of heat, iceberg eyes. his silent mesa backbone.
Shooting from the hip
my take-it-to-the-mat, kick butt son,
He stretches me, he pulls the sunflowers up taller, He pulls the daisy apart, loves me, loves me not heap of broken petals and his bruised mouth,
a storm hammering at the window at night
his feet crush the gravel.
He sighs and I sigh
he breathes purple air,
he takes all the air and leaves us stung red, fish gasping. My waterfall stampeding, eating dust, raven-maned son.

April, Resolute: Poem by Candelora Versace

April, Resolute
by Candelora Versace

Sometimes it snows in April
That’s a sad sad song
Loss and reverie
Ache, unnamed
Wind moves the dust around
It chokes, it wears one down
Small green things force their way out
Foolhardy tenacity
Fault? Or blessing?
She weighs her own
Tiny rabbits crisscross her land
Grape hyacinths, fringed tulips
Hardy pansies, violas perhaps
Stickery weeds everywhere
Her mother, 91 now, grows especially melancholy in April
Holy Week a trial
Resurrection still an unknown promise
Grief a given
Snow this morning, sunshine this afternoon
Is it spring? Still winter? She has taken to calling it “sprinter”
which she knows will last ‘til June
She watches him plant, ever hopeful
He knows the wheel will turn
Inexorable and resolute
It’s April, almost summer
Look, the first hummingbird!