Spring has sprung, it’s fun to see the valley starting to green up. I should have had my aperture cranked way down here, so everything in the shot would have been in focus. Oh well, nice mountain view and I do love the split of the green and blue colors. I will probably go try this one again.
I painted this scene back in college, with an eye superimposed over it crying (which may have been my eye). I know, corny, right? Every photographer in town has taken shots of these mountains, it’s impossible not to. They’re called the Organs, and they do look like an organ. I always imagine spleens.
I had had a few Tecates at this point, and was mostly hoping the big burly guys inside didn’t come out to see me messing around their bikes. Luckily you can’t see my inebriated, worried face in the reflection… or can you….
I caught a glimpse today, of the divine
Found it under a drift of papers full of empty words
Out of the corner of my eye brilliant color flashed
And then was gone, out the closed window to the sun
I forgot my petty worries, my figmental pain
Remembered the self I met once as a child.
I had to stick my camera through some chain-link to get this unobstructed view- this was after a long day of shooting most of the day and my battery was dying, but couldn’t pass up this tower in the afternoon light. The guy that painted this mural has painted all of the Las Cruces city water tanks.
Glenwood was a microcosm of the whole world, in which it was relatively safe to try out this thing called normal life. With Dad out of the picture, it took a while for family dynamics to fall into a new routine. We fought, and postured, and Mom always looked exhausted. I think she wondered if she had done the right thing, but there was no doubt in my mind. It had been time to chase him off, and when the cop showed up that day to pick him up Dad nearly spat in her face as he hissed “This is the last time you’ll see me, Mary” as if that were a threat that might hurt. I didn’t see him get in the car, or drive away. I didn’t think of him in jail that night, or know if he had been locked up. I tried to feel some sadness because I thought I should. I loved him, right? He was my dad, right? But there were precious few feelings left in my heart for him. The years with his anger and abuse had systematically pulled each feeling out and ground it into the dirt with their endless heels.
I felt, most of all, a lightening of the weight on my shoulders. For the first time in my life my attention began to focus outward, away from the eternal internal. I’d spent all my time thus far in deep inner reflection and boundless imaginary worlds, and I had learned enough about myself to trust in my feelings and intuition. I didn’t quite have the verbal expression down yet, but I grew braver every day. I got a job washing dishes at the Blue Front Bar and Café, the greasy restaurant built over a ditch in the middle of town and owned by the ever-present Luthers, of course. I started to get to know people in town, and made my first girlfriends there who eventually pulled me into public school for my last two years in high school. Mom worked at the Blue Front, as well as another restaurant, Maxine’s, up the hill that’s since become a goat-milk soap shop. She found a boyfriend in no time at all, a cook in Maxine’s kitchen who was looking for a mommy.
I’d made my closest high school friend when Dad had still been in town. She was tall, skinny and pretty, the daughter of one of the big rancher families that lived north of town. She said I reminded her of an elf, with my ears poking from behind my braid. Early in our nascent friendship, I asked Mom if I could go to the ranch with Jen. We spent the day giggling in her room, messing with each other’s hair, the typical budding teen stuff. Her mom drove me home late in the afternoon for dinner, and when I walked into the trailer Mom didn’t look up at me from the dinner she was preparing. Something was off, and I immediately made myself scarce–which in the trailer meant hiding in the back “room.”
“Where the fuck was she all day?” My dad asked my mom, beer and sarcasm dripping from his voice.
“She was with her friend,” Mom said quietly.
Somehow Dad had discovered that Jennifer had an older brother– who we had seen for a couple of minutes on his way to his room that day. “Don’t you know what can happen?” Dad’s rage boiled over. “Hanging out with fucking boys all day, do you know what can happen? Don’t you fucking think, Mary, doesn’t this shit cross your pea brain?” He slammed the rest of a beer. “She is not to ever go over there again. They only think about one thing, getting their hands into panties, don’t you know what they’re like? Do you want a slut as a daughter? You’d probably like that, wouldn’t you Mary?”
I felt the familiar sick rising in my stomach, the twisted knots caused by the knowledge that I was not to be trusted, a slutty girl, that he would never release this iron grip he had on all of us. I gave up the idea that I could have a friend, could try to have a normal life, could someday even have a boy who would be interested in wanting things to happen with me. I knew I was too quiet, too weird, too poor, to awkward. And Dad made sure I knew it, when he wasn’t telling me how fat my ass was. It took me years before I realized I was one of the thinnest people I knew.
Just click the button above, then scroll down and see my entry to this awesome travel contest- and enter yourself, if you can!
Travel abroad has been my dream all my life, but it’s damn hard to fund! Imagine 6 months free to travel and check all these places off your bucket list- man, the Great Wall of China, Thailand, Russia, Iceland- I’m so there. Help me out, friends, and watch my lame video. 🙂 Thanks, much love to all!