Thursday, June 19, 2014


Near Arcosanti, datura bloomed on the roadside. Arcosanti was Paolo Soleri's 20th century dream of the future. Sedona is the real 21st century with a vengence: spectactular nature and red rocks with New Age pretentions and all the modern conviences, plus familiar franchises brought to you buy corporate sponsors you know and trust.

Fires had blackened nearby mountains, adding texture and drama to the contrast between red rocks and the blue sky. Not so many tourists, but still people were getting their pictures taken with a statue of Smokey the Bear.

This was Arizona after another fire. I was reminded of former Sedona resident Max Ernst's painting Europe After the Rain.

As we drifted into Sedona, Em said, “I love the pink sidewalks.”

We passed the King's Ransom Hotel – was that a name or a warning? Then art spilled over onto the pink sidewalks – pretty graven images that glittered in the sun, and twisted in the wind. Who buys this stuff? Does most the the money come in from the palm/tarot reading joints with neon signs? How much does packaged spirituality go for these days?

We had out usual lunch at Oaxaca, one of the few Mexican restaurants in town. How can this be in Arizona? Is it okay for me to be here with my pigmentation?

They offered cactus tacos, made from the pricky pear/nopales cactus. I was tempted, but knew I needed fuel for some hiking, so I went with more traditional shredded beef instead.

Sedona is what the tourist industry wants the Wild West to be: more a theme park than a place where people can be seen are doing the dirty work they have to do to get by. Ugly history burns off like dry underbrush, making way for colorful fantasy where white people and Asian tourists can feel safe and almost inspired. And it's clean and pretty.

Overhead, helicopters, hawks and owls patroled.

And in my head, the Firesign Theater's Back From the The Shadows kept playing.

Beyond Sedona, we started seeing FIRE DANGER EXTREME TODAY signs.

Nopales were blooming in the hills. Was this going to be the cash crop for the vegetarian tacos of the future? Or just the desperation filler for post-apocalypitic meals?

Photo by Em

Oak Creek was low. Where ever we see ruins, there's usually a dried riverbed not far away. It was more remarkable than the scorched mountains and naked trees.

There were also a lot of THANK YOU, FIREFIGHTERS! signs.

Another photo by Em

But then, forest fires are part of the natural order of things, reestablishing the sacred balance.

Like the Firesign Theater sang:

Where the veg'tables are green,
And you can pee into the stream!

You are truly one with the universe when you pee into a stream. Also when you are watching televison, walking on the moon, or reading a blog. Nature includes black holes and dark 
matter. You can't really escape from nature – it's like getting out of the universe.

There's some spirituality for you. Not the kind you can sell for big bucks on the global market.

Better get back to the shadows . . .

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