This is New Orleans. We celebrate just about everything that moves. In late July and early August we hold a jazz festival called Stachmo Fest. We celebrate Louis Armstrong’s birthday with three days of music. All jazz. All kinds of jazz. We start with a French Quarter-based second line. On Sunday — yesterday — we have a neighborhood second line that starts in Treme and ends up near the festival music venues in the Quarter.
It’s a short parade. About a mile and half. That’s a good thing. That means for me it was about a three-mile walk. In the very hot sun. I think it was about 168 degrees. Okay. That’s an exaggeration. But, it was 97 degrees. At least that’s what my car thermometer said. The car was parked in the shade. And, the humidity is fairly low for us. Around 40 to 50 per cent. Even though I thought I stayed hydrated, I really didn’t. I returned to the car in a pretty stupefied state. The good news is that once a returned home I recovered pretty quickly.
To make matters worse, I’m pretty sure that a lot of us are not in great parade shape. It’s been six weeks. It’s like playing a sport. You can train, you can walk, you can ride a bike. But, those things are not like being in the scrum that is a second line. Worse, this is the ten-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and combined with a music festival, there were probably more people taking pictures than there were walking in the parade. As you know, I’m pretty used to it. But, there are unwritten rules of etiquette. Many of these one time visitors with cameras don’t know or understand them. Oh well.
You’ll see more picture in the next few days. I’ll even show you a picture of the photographers. You’ll see. Too many photographers. Not enough music. Heh.
One more thing. See the grand marshal in the top picture? See the trombone player in the bottom picture? They are father and son. How cool is that?
Junk. New Mexican Junk. Sunday’s junk.
Unlike the junk in New Orleans, this junk isn’t so rusty. It is mostly sand and wind-blown. Sure, there’s some rust. But nothing like you get in the high humidity swamp that I call home. For now.
This place. It’s in Moriarty. New Mexico. You can see it from I-40 just east of Albuquerque. It’s owned by a very New Mexican sort of fellow called Archie. He owns a lot of land out this way. He’s also pretty much well-known throughout the area. Generally when he talks about the history of the region, he tells the truth. After all, he’s lived a lot of it. He knows some stories about nuclear development that are downright scary. You can see him in the third picture. I should also add that the last time I saw him was before my return to the swamp. A while back. I’m not saying anything more about that. Bad juju. You know?
Anyway. He’s friendly. Call ahead. Let him know you are coming. He’ll let you have the run of the junkyard. He’ll ask for a donation, but that’s to be expected. It’s mostly to support the wonderfully restored or pristine cars in the car barn. After all, how much of this old junk can he sell? Some of the oldest cars and trucks — Model-Ts and before are almost melting into the dirt.
A word about this page design. I had grand plans of making a newspaper page-like design. Like the kind I used to do. Very clean. Large leading picture. A very nicely organized group of sub pictures. Yeah. Good luck with that. Maybe if I could write code, I might be able to do something. But, no way within the confines of this page template. I could make smaller pictures. But, I couldn’t align them. If I did, one picture dropped below the group. And, of course, I couldn’t wrap the type. I probably shouldn’t worry much about it. Storyteller is really about pictures. Not page design.
If any of you have a better idea, please let me know. I could use some better ideas.
Bright yellow blooming Sunflower. Always makes me smile. Probably it does the same for you, too.
This is among the last pictures I made during my post-Katrina adventure. Sort of a nice way to hit the road.
Happy Saturday. Y’all.
Something bright. Something yellow. Something happy.
Something for Thursday.
Now, for a little full disclosure.
I confused and old, dear friend of mine with yesterday’s picture. She saw the mountains below the clouds and wondered if we were headed west. To New Mexico.
She almost nailed it. Those are not sub-tropical clouds. They are high altitude, thin air, desert clouds. New Mexican clouds. I made the picture few years ago. Near Taos. I posted it yesterday because I like the picture and you’ve never seen it. In fact, I hadn’t seen it in a long time. Digital files get that way. They have a habit of hiding because you can’t easily look at a slide file. Truth be told, if I never took another picture — like that’s gonna happen — I could probably publish at least a decade’s worth of Storyteller without stretching much to show you unseen work. I’ve been working for a long time and I’ve made a lot of pictures.
As a lot of you know, life got in the way for about the last week. And, almost immediately prior to that, we were out on the road with another project. Even though I normally always have time to take pictures, other things took over last week. There will be some spill over from the past week, but for the most part that’s over. Thankfully. I’m home now and I’ll get back to it.
Before I started roaming around, I had a client request. Pictures from New Mexico. My way. And, they asked, try not to make it easy to place a time or date on them. Evergreen is the publishing word for that. So, I took a portable hard drive and started editing my New Mexico files when I had a little down time. Usually when I should have been sleeping.
Yes. Editing. According to the old school definition. Today, it’s called curating. Culling. Or something like that. I pleasantly surprised myself. There were a lot of cool pictures hiding in those back files. So, I thought, I’d better show them to you as I worked through five years worth of material. You’ve never seen them. You should.
This does two things. It’ll give me a little time to make brand new pictures. I did that a little while I was home for those few days in between trips. The pink flowers, the pine tree and the cemetery were among some of them. Now, I’ll have a lot more time. I’ll also have time to edit the rest of my New Mexican collection and… work on other big internal changes. Maybe, I’ll even get back to two of the book projects. I hope.
There you have it. Enjoy the sunflowers. Yellow brightens up everything.
“Bows and flows of angel hair
And ice cream castles in the air
And feather canyons everywhere
I’ve looked at clouds that way
But now they only block the sun
They rain and snow on everyone
So many things I would have done
But clouds got in my way
I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now
From up and down and still somehow
It’s cloud’s illusions I recall
I really don’t know clouds at all” — “Both Sides, Now.” Written by Joni Mitchell and sung by Judy Collins.
Clouds. Joni Mitchell wrote it and Judy Collins sang it in 1967. Joni sang it in 1969. Both versions are wonderful. The list of musicians who covered it in almost 50 years is amazing. We’ll leave it at that. For the music, anyway.
It was yet another very, very long day. But that journey is just about over. Thankfully. Home in a little bit, or by the time y’all read this.
The picture. Bob Dylan once said in an interview when he was asked about how he writes his songs, “I’m just the conduit.” For this picture, all I can add is “me too.” I’m just the conduit. I have nothing more for you.
Driving, driving, driving.
Even though that wasn’t the point of yesterday, it felt like it was. That’s what we did. All day. Well… a good part of it.
We didn’t spend a lot of time on little, tiny roads like this one. When we did, I made the best use of them. Stopping for something like this gave us a much needed break from the real business of the day.
You know how it goes. You see something cool. You stop. You turn the music up. You get out of the car. And, take the picture.
You know me. I gave up a long time ago trying to keep power and telephones lines out of the picture. Instead, I make them part it. And, why not? Unless I travel somewhere far from civilization, power lines are ubiquitous. Don’t fight them. Make them your friend.
it always knows
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