Saturday, April 21, 2007
A group of flowering cacti from last week: right side, top to bottom, Strombocactus disciformis, Echinocereus russanthus, Escobaria organensis, Stenocactus vaupelianus; left side, top to bottom, Echinocereus russanthus "weedinii," Escobaria sneedii, Mammillaria viridiflora. Lophophora diffusa off to the side.
So I'm in Chama for the next 4 days, doing two 4th/5th grade opera projects...10 and 11 year olds writing their own operas in a total of ten hours. Chama's project involves football players, aliens and superheros. The big problem: a superhero and an alien both fall in love with the same football player. At Tierra Amarilla, the story includes secret agents, knights and outlaws of the old west. The big problem: a secret agent has created a hole in the time space continuum by using her gadget; a knight falls in love with her and a cowgirl falls in love with the knight. What is up with all this love business? I've done 5 other operas with kids and not one of them involved even a hint of love.
Chama is at about 8,000 feet, along a road (US Highway 84) that turns into NM 17, heading directly for the snowy passes of the high Rockies. An elk, just one, lumbered along the road just outside of town yesterday. Mule deer, Canada geese, huge pine trees. Only a handful of people. The big news at noon yesterday on the local radio station: next year's middle school basketball program is lacking funds, which will mean having to combine Chama and Tierra Amarilla students onto one team.
Tierra Amarilla, by the way, is most famous for the Land Grant rebellions of the 1960s, including the raid on the US Courthouse.
Just outside the town, there's a billboard that says "Tierra o Muerte!"
It's no wonder the knights and the cowpokes in the TA opera get in a fight over who owns the land.
It seems quite a few people have stopped by to download the Duology files (a couple of posts down) but there's been an eerie silence afterwards. I expected some sort of critical feedback (though I didn't explicitly ask for any) and I guess I envision someone downloading them, listening, and being too enraged, disgusted, bored or embarrassed to comment. This is the neighborhood my mind wanders in when it encounters a lack of information.
I don't watch television, so a stay at a motel is always fascinating. Wednesday and Thursday night I mostly watched The Twilight Zone and The X Files, avoiding the incessant and harrowing coverage of the Virgina Tech shootings. I did see some of the shooter's video. Maybe the only clip that I saw of that was when he said "So this is it. The end of the line. What a life. Some life." Or something like that. And I guess the only thought I had was "where is everybody? All along the way, as someone becomes submerged in psychopathic grief, rage, loneliness...where was everybody?"