Offerings

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Today marks the beginning the Latin American celebration Día de Los Muertos, or Day of the Dead. It is a popular holiday in Mexico and is becoming increasingly popular in the American Southwest, too. (Here’s a good source of information on the tradition.)

Here in Lubbock, several art galleries participate in an event called Procesíon, with exhibits reflecting the cultural heritage and modern interpretations of the holiday. The Buddy Holly Center hosts workshops, and tomorrow my granddaughter and I are headed over to make sugar skulls, which is our traditional after-Halloween activity.

And, meanwhile, one winter day several months after the celebration, in a niche on the back of the cemetery gates in Terlingua, I spotted some relics of Day of the Dead.

Terlingua Cemetery
Terlingua, Texas
photographed 1.20.2013

(I am gone for a while, and will not be responding to comments right away. But make some anyway, if you feel inclined, and I’ll get back to you – it just won’t be right away.)

In a dry and barren place

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Out here in the desert, cemeteries aren’t the pastoral sites they are in other parts of the country. There’s no grassy paths to soften the scene, no trees to provide shade to mourners.

But there are uneven piles of rocks, topped by simple crosses. And, way in the back, the Virgin stands in her tiny grotto.

Lajitas Cemetery
Lajitas, Texas
photographed 1.20.2013

(I am gone for a while, and will not be responding to comments right away. But make some anyway, if you feel inclined, and I’ll get back to you – it just won’t be right away.)

(not a) church

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Down along the river (which hard to think of as an international border, even though it is), there’s a movie set.

So, at best, this is just a fake church….

near Lajitas, Texas
photographed 1.20.2013

(I am gone for a while, and will not be responding to comments right away. But make some anyway, if you feel inclined, and I’ll get back to you – it just won’t be right away.)

There are many mysteries

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This cemetery is especially stark, with that jumble of mostly unmarked wooden crosses and piles of rock marking gravesites. It’s hot – so hot that candles melt, leaving greasy marks on the rocks. Many of the graves are those of miners, who succumbed to the occupational hazards in nearby mercury mines, which began production in 1903. Other graves are from the influenza epidemic of 1918-19. And still others are recent. They are crowded together (the complete site is only about an acre) and it’s easy to get scratches from mesquite trees or poked by cactus thorns.

But it is also especially beautiful, with a view across to the Chisos Mountains and Big Bend National Park and that half moon, one week away from the first full moon of the year, hanging in the sky.

Terlingua Cemetery
Terlingua, Texas
photographed 1.20.2013

(I am gone for a while, and will not be responding to comments right away. But make some anyway, if you feel inclined, and I’ll get back to you – it just won’t be right away.)

Self portrait (or as close as you’ll ever see)

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Yes, those are my feet.

I was watching the storm on the east edge of town as it built up. I am not particularly good at just sitting, and watching, and waiting for something to happen. But, Brett Erickson has been encouraging me to take a much slower approach to my work, and I was giving it a try. (Brett hasn’t steered me wrong so far.) That storm was interesting but I have to say I got a little bored by the time I left.

So I made a picture of my feet.

Clearly, I still need to work on that sitting and waiting deal a little bit more…

Lubbock, Texas
photographed 8.16.2014

(I am gone for a while, and will not be responding to comments right away. But make some anyway, if you feel inclined, and I’ll get back to you – it just won’t be right away.)

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