Not long after I left home on Friday morning, I saw this cloud formation ahead of me, and I had to take a picture. Do you see the roadrunner?
As I passed Albuquerque and Bernalillo, I turned onto the highway toward Farmington, and I began to see the terrain that so deeply stirs my heart. For some it is simply too stark to be pretty, but for me it is the countryside that I grew up with and in. It is magnificent and breath-taking. I find myself imagining the formation of these towering cliffs in previous centuries, as the Earth elbowed its way into these shapes. And I just love it.
The colors you see are natural. I've not adjusted them at all. I don't need to.
There are many volcanic cores standing in the desert, reminders that this land was once something much, much different.
Once in Farmington, I spent one afternoon driving around and seeing the houses I lived in. Two I was not able to find. The first home I had there is clearly gone, bulldozed away at some point, as was the apple orchard which surrounded it. That piece of land is now home to several businesses.
The second home was there. Well, I think it was. But I didn't recognize it and was not sure of the address. The spot where I expected to find it was a little house that didn't look at all familiar to me. Some landmarks around the house were missing, and I simply couldn't be sure I had the right place. Of course, that was 53 or 54 years ago! I guess it is OK that I'm not sure.
But the third house was easy. We lived here for about three years, maybe four. I looked the same, but smaller than I remembered. Isn't that what everyone says? When I lived here I had three friends ... Donnie and I were the same age and Judy and George were a couple years younger. The four of us played together a lot. We girls played army and cowboys and indians with the boys, but in turn, they had to play dolls/house with us. Without grousing! And they did! They were good sports.
At the Saturday brunch Donnie was smarting off , telling everyone that I was going to put pictures of them on my blog site. I told him that I would put a really bad picture of him up there if he didn't behave. He did behave, but I'm doing it anyway!! Donnie, are you out there? Are you seeing this, the picture I threatened you with???? LOL! I'll teach you to talk out of the side of your mouth!!
OK, OK, here is a good picture of him. He is actually a great guy. And he doesn't really "talk out of the side of his mouth." At least not these days!! A good friend, one of my oldest.
This is a duplex that I lived in when I was married to my first husband. It was my son Scott's first home. We lived in the front part, with the brown door. Interestingly, it was built on what was a vacant lot when I lived in the house above, and it is directly in back of that house! Donnie, Judy, George and I used to play in this lot.
This is the last home I lived in before I got married. My parents bought this new in 1959. This was my home during high school, and my parents lived there for several years after that. They moved away and came back a couple times before finally selling it something like 20 years later.
Saturday night was a banquet and dance. This is the only picture taken of me on my own camera during the weekend. I handed the camera to someone and asked for a picture of Gail, our friend John and myself. This was John's first time back for a reunion, and it was really good to see him. He played my father in the senior class play, Taming of the Shrew. For those of you who read Shakespeare, I was Bianca, the sweet sister. Of course. Gail and John have been emailing for several years, and when she took a cruise to Alaska a couple years ago, he showed her around. I'm glad she convinced him to attend. This ought to make Donnie feel better!! I was moving my mouth, obviously!
Finally, on Sunday as I was leaving, I stopped to take pictures of The Bluffs. These cliffs form one side of the valley in which Farmington rests. They help protect it from some of the more brutal elements of nature. There are rivers in the valley that supply water for irrigation for small farms, mostly growing alfalfa or fruit trees. The Navajo Nation, or Dine (pronounced "din-eah") built a big dam at the east end of this valley, forming a huge reservoir lake. From that, they are irrigating the desert on top of those bluffs and farming large areas. I was told that they supply most of the potatoes for FritoLay. Huh. All that land was used for when I lived there was teenagers parking!! Oh, not me, of course!!
I thought I might stay through Monday, but I was ready to come home by Sunday. Having taken the "memory lane" drive and shot pictures of the old homes, then these of the walls of the valley, thinking back over the events of the weekend and the friends we've lost over the years, I was a bit emotional as I left town. it is nice to "go home." But it is hard, too. My parents are gone, and I think my pictures of the houses made that very real. Friends that shared a part of my past are gone, too, some of them long ago, others just recent. I missed some who just didn't come this time. I was remembering my first couple years of marriage there, my childhood and dating in that town. And it made for a difficult drive for the first hour or two.
I want to say to all of you ... record your history, your life. I know you don't think you have time. But now is the only time you have to do that. If you don't, it will be gone. It doesn't matter that I don't have pictures of those two houses; I have the memories. What matters is that you have those memories somewhere other than your head. Write them for your children and grandchildren. If you don't, you'll forget. If you don't, they will not have that piece of you. If you don't have children, there are still others who want or need to know that. Nieces and nephews, cousins may need to know something about your siblings or aunts and uncles.
I've been aware of this for a long time and I've written things like this for my children. So many details are lost now that my parents are gone. I frequently wish I could ask just that one more detail or hear that story just one more time because I forgot some part of it. So take photos (even bad ones) and write down some of your childhood stories.
It was a good weekend. But I was glad to get home.
Oh! More pictures of scenery at The Way I See It . . .
Life is beautiful!!!