During our 79-day tour of the southwestern US, one of our favourite wilderness areas was the 1.35-million-acre Bears Ears National Monument (BENM) in southeastern Utah. On the weekend of May 13, we hiked into House on Fire, one of the most famous Puebloan ruins in BENM. It’s so dazzling we went twice, on Saturday evening when the low rays of the sun ignite the virtual fire and again the next morning when we did a longer hike to see other ruins in Mule Canyon. Although we didn’t see US Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, ranger Dan told us he was in the area—on a mission—the results making news around the world this week.
On Friday afternoon, we got the call.
A week later, I locked the door on an almost-empty house.
Imagine that like my mother, you’re eighty-nine years old. You’re moving into a single room in a personal care home in less than a week. Look around. What possessions would you take with you?
Do you remember what you got for Christmas thirty years ago?
For me, it was One Hundred Flowers, a coffee-table art book of Georgia O’Keeffe’s floral paintings. I was such a fan of her work that Magellan bought this for me in 1987, the year it was first published, the year Georgia O’Keeffe would have celebrated with 100 birthday candles.
In 2005, our artist friend Pat and I made a pilgrimage to Georgia O’Keeffe’s home and studio in the village of Abiquiú, an hour’s drive northwest of Santa Fe, New Mexico. When Magellan suggested we add Abiquiú to our itinerary this spring, I wondered how the second visit would compare.
“It’s hidden under this vase,” said the young man, pulling out the house key. “A typical Portuguese hiding place,” he laughed.
“Good thing we’re sharing the house with a couple who got here before dark and know what’s going on,” said Magellan as we introduced ourselves to Gil and Sebastião.
Until we arrived in the abandoned village of Talasnal half an hour earlier and called Paulo, the house’s owner, (who lives 50 kilometres away) to find out where the key was, we didn’t know we’d be sharing the house. The news didn’t exactly excite me.
“It’s so quiet. Stunning architecture, but where is everybody?”
Our main reason for visiting Valencia was to see “starchitect” Santiago Calatrava’s City of Arts and Sciences, the reason we assumed many other tourists go to this Spanish city that’s as sensuous as its melodious name, Valencia. We wondered why so few people were there in late September, prime tourist season.