an entire arm of the lake has pretty much dried up and I've been watching and trying to figure out how to shoot it. I say dry and it looks dry but this is land that has been underwater for decades. it's a bit muddy under the crust for quite a few feet. even with no clouds and the prospect of the light going high contrast rather quickly, I felt the need to get out and shoot. so I dawned my muck boots and went for my first attempt. much to my delight the night had been cold enough that the top was frozen solid. I boldly ventured forth marveling at the artifacts that were not so long ago covered by the waves. There was a duel set of tires and wheels from a semi... I imagine it was quite a sight the day they shot off the bridge at 50 mph. I thought to myself that this was going better than I thought it might as I passed the remains of of a catfish stripped of everything but the spine and head. so further and further I went... discoveries abound. the morning was a mild one, not a soul around and the warmth of the rising sun made it a most pleasant sojourn.
I found myself here and set the tripod up just inches from the ground, laid down and began shooting in earnest. I was pretty happy, shooting a few images here... crawling over and shooting a few there. the branches and ground are covered with frost glittering in the morning sun. right after this shot I'm wondering why the crack on the bottom left corner isn't there any more. I know that I hadn't bumped the camera. in quick succession I also wonder why my knees... then elbows... then chest feel suddenly cold.
I suppose sometimes I don't think things through... the flats were thawing and I had broken through the crust.
I push up to my knees, my front covered in half frozen mud. then my right knee promptly sucks down into the mud. at this stage it occurs to me it would be a good time to leave. I begin leaning back to break the suction. I grab my tripod and camera as my knees break loose and use it to help me stand. of course as I stand both of my feet go about a foot and a half deep into the mud. I balance on my tripod (thank you manfrotto!) and pull my right foot out... unfortunately it wasn't wearing a muck boot. so one foot buried, one foot in air and the rest of me leaning on the tripod I reach in and pull it out. For the next five minutes or so, this ballet of the absurd continues as I slowly work myself to an area still in the shade. there was much swearing involved in this process... but as I was standing on the hard crust I found myself grinning.
I suppose there's still a lot of eastern oklahoma left in me... 'cause that shit was fun.
now... I think I'll go put on some more mentholatum ointment.
I've been havin' some hard travelin', I thought you knowed. I've been havin' some hard travelin', way down the road. I've been havin' some hard travelin', hard ramblin', hard gamblin'. I've been havin' some hard travelin', lord.
I've been ridin' them fast rattlers, I thought you knowed I've been ridin' them flat wheelers, way down the road I've been ridin' them blind passengers, dead-enders, kickin' up cinders I've been havin' some hard travelin', lord
I've been hittin' some hard-rock minin', I thought you knowed I've been leanin' on a pressure drill, way down the road Hammer flyin', air-hose suckin', six foot of mud and I shore been a muckin' And I've been hittin' some hard travelin', lord
We come here to remember those who were killed, those who survived and those changed forever. May all who leave here know the impact of violence. May this memorial offer comfort, strength, peace, hope and serenity.
18 years ago today at 9:02 in the morning, a vile, evil, misguided fool did an unspeakable horror in this place. 168 people perished... they were grandparents... mothers and fathers... brothers and sisters... sons and daughters... and even infants not weaned from their mother's breast. I'll not speak his name, it deserves to die as he did...put down like the rabid dog he was.
When this happened the community responded as one. There were many stories of individual heroics... stories of friends and neighbors, businesses, and rescue squads from all over, stopping what they were doing and giving their all in the rescue and recovery effort. There were also many stories of great sorrow.
In the moments after seeing man at his worst... we saw him at his best and there was hope. it was decided a memorial should be built to honor the fallen. This is that memorial. It stands where the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building once stood. To the left you see 168 lighted chairs... one for each victim. As you view them you notice that 19 of them are smaller than the others. These are for the children that died that day. It's quite powerful. Off image, opposite of 9:03 stands another Gate of Time labeled 9:01 The moment before...when, if asked, we would have said as one, It could never happen here." Well, at 9:02 am it did happen. Violence, ignorance and intolerance were served upon us. A certain naivety was shed in that moment to be replaced by determination to rebuild... to teach...to honor the memories of those gone.
The following is a Pulitzer Prize winning image from this tragedy. To this day I can not look at this image for more than one second before feeling a wail beginning to form in my throat. Be forewarned. it is not for the faint at heart.
Know and understand... This is what ignorance and violence begets.
---------- In the midst of piñon, juniper, and ponderosa pine woodlands of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, the remains of an Indian pueblo stand as a meaningful reminder of a culture that once prevailed in this region. Weathered adobe walls of a Spanish church share a ridge with the pueblo ruins, which extend for a quarter-mile along a ridge in a valley shared by the Glorieta Creek and the Pecos River. Long before Spaniards entered this country, this pueblo village was the juncture of trade between people of the Rio Grande Valley and hunting tribes of the buffalo plains. Its nearly 2,000 inhabitants could marshal 500 fighting men; its frontier location brought both war and trade.
At trade fairs, Plains tribes-mostly nomadic Apaches-brought slaves, buffalo hides, flint, and shells to trade for pottery, crops, textiles, and turquoise with the river Pueblos. Pecos Indians were middlemen, traders and consumers of the goods and cultures of the very different people on either side of the mountains. They became economically powerful and practiced in the arts and customs of two worlds.
Francisco Vasquez de Coronado pursued a vision quest in 1540. Leading an army of 1,200 men, Coronado made his way into he country north of Mexico. Six months into the march he rode into a cluster of Zuni pueblos, Cibola, near present-day Gallup. He attacked the Zuni at Hawikuh, taking over that principal town and its food stores for his famished soldiers.
At Cicuye-which would be called "Pecos" by the Spanish-150 miles east, the reception was different. The Indians welcomed the Spaniards with music and gifts. A Plains Indian captive at Pecos told of a rich land to the east, Quivira, and Coronado set out in spring 1541 to find it. Wandering as far as Kansas, he found only a few villages. His Indian guide confessed he lured the army on to the plains to die, and Coronado had him strangled.
The expedition turned back. After a bleak winter along the Rio Grande, the broken army returned to Mexico empty-handed, harassed by Indians most of the way. In Coronado's sojourn to Cicuye, the Pecos Indians had their first interaction with a strange new world; they had watched gray-clad priests plant crosses for their gods. But the strangers went away and the Pueblos settled back into their old ways.
Nearly 60 years passed before Spaniards came to New Mexico to stay. New Spain's frontier had slowly advanced with the discovery of silver in northern Mexico. In 1581, explorers began prospecting for silver in the land of the Pueblos. Their failures foreshadowed a truth that determined much of Spanish New Mexico's history: that province held neither golden cities nor ready riches. But the fact that settlers could farm and herd there focused the joint strategies of Cross and Crown: Pueblo Indians could be converted and their lands colonized.
Don Juan de Oñate was first to pursue this mixed objective, in 1598. Taking settlers, livestock, and 10 Franciscans he marched north to claim for Spain the land across the Rio Grande. Right away he assigned a friar to the pueblo the Spanish would call Pecos, the richest and most powerful New Mexico. The new religion got off to a shaky start. After episodes of idol-smashing provoked Indian resentment, the Franciscans sent veteran missionary Fray Andrés Juárez to Pecos in 1621 as healer and builder. Under his direction the Pecos built an adobe church south of the pueblo, the most imposing of New Mexico's mission churches-with towers, buttresses, and great pine-log beams hauled from the mountains.
The ministry of Fray Juárez from 1621 to 34 coincided with the most energetic mission period in New Mexico, now a royal colony. It was a Franciscan-led time of mission building and expansion. Its success bred conflict-church and civil officials vied for the Pueblo Indians' labor, tribute, and loyalty. The Indians suffered these struggles as religious and economic repression.
Decades of Spanish demands and Indian resentments climaxed in the Pueblo Revolt of 1680. Indians in scattered pueblos united to drive the Spaniards back to Mexico. At Pecos, loyal Indians warned the local priest but most followed a tribal elder in revolt. They killed the priest and destroyed the church.
Twelve years later, led by Diego de Vargas, the Spaniards came back to their lost province, peacefully in some places but with the sword in others. De Vargas expected fighting at Pecos, but opinion had shifted. The Indians welcomed him back and supplied 140 warriors to help retake Santa Fe. A smaller church built on the old one's ruins was the first mission reestablished after the Reconquest, and most Pecos sustained Spanish rule until it ended.
In return, the Franciscans moderated their zeal. The practice of encomiendas (paying tribute) was abolished. As allies and traders, the Pecos became partners in a relaxed Spanish-Pueblo community. Archeologists now believe the kiva near the mission may have been concurrent with the second grand church. (The remains of that church and two reconstructed kivas and may be visited at Pecos National Historical Park.)
By the 1780s, disease, Comanche raids, and migration reduced the population of Pecos to fewer than 300. Longstanding internal divisions-those loyal to the Church and things Spanish versus those who clung to the old ways-may have contributed to this once powerful city-state's decline.
The function of Pecos as a trade center faded as Spanish colonists, now protected from the Comanches by treaties, established new towns to the east. Pecos and the mission seemed almost ghostly when The Santa Fe Trail trade began flowing past in 1821. The last survivors left the decaying pueblo and empty mission church in 1838 to join Towa-speaking relatives 80 miles west at Jémez pueblo, where their descendants still live today.
yeah... I know, I know, wall of words but it's an intriguing history. this image is of the remains of the first and second church... edited in Silver Efex Pro 2.
---------- I wonder how many people in this city live in furnished rooms. Late at night when I look out at the buildings I swear I see a face in every window looking back at me and when I turn away I wonder how many go back to their desks and write this down.