Each year there is a ‘Shakin up the Arts’ show at the Carmen Durazo Center in Calexico. This year the show was just about equally divided between high school students and adult artist entries.
I often get asked about the Salton Sea. Whether it is still there. Yes, but a little smaller. I am looking at a mid to dark blue sea as I write this, sitting at my dining room table (the view is better than the wall in front of my desk), which means it’s pretty breezy out there. I love the fact that I can tell the windspeed by the color of the sea, and that sometimes one half of it will be dark and the other light. That when there is no wind, it is the same color as the sky.
This morning I walked down to the shore, such as it is, now perhaps a half mile of what will eventually be salt flats – some of it dry enough to walk on, much of it not, so I can no longer go to the water’s edge without ending up up to my thighs in fish guano.
I took a photo of the ‘reflecting pool’, which when I moved here almost fifteen years ago was full of water up to the far side of that little row of vegetation in the front.
When I returned I wrote this:
Palm Springs to Yuma – not a hint of breeze,
the silence is so loud you’ll hear your heart
beat in your chest. Your breath will stop and start
as you behold the mirror Salton Sea’s
become on such a day. A piece of sky
stretched on the desert floor – cerulean rug
of knots so fine. And ’til a stop will tug
the air, that blessed earthly canopy,
and then that sea to ever deepening blue
then gray, then black with whitecapse, watch this glass
this polished surface thirty five miles vast
reflects the sky it lives under, to you.
On windless days, the Salton Sea shines most,
more than the oceans found on either coast.
On Thursday I had to go over to Borrego Springs for an Art meeting. I was held up by gazillions of wonderful visitors looking for the right place to stop to look at flowers. Of course you can’t see flowers in detail when you’re driving at 55 – the speed limit along the S22 which for those non-locals is the only road between Salton City and Borrego Springs.
By the time I was late for the meeting, I’d composed this in my head and plan to put it on a sign at the corner of S22.
While you’re trolling for flowers at 20,
that vehicle that’s riding your ass
is a local that’s late getting somewhere,
so please let the tailgater pass!
Yesterday I went to pick up my paintings from the Imperial County Fair. I often enter about 10 paintings but this year only had four that fit the categories well (you can only enter two in each category). I was pleasantly surprised to find that ‘Arrows‘ had won 3rd place in “Non-objective or abstract paintings, any media”, and “Hope Rising” had taken 1st place in the same category.
Following the county fair, one of our local museums, Pioneer’s Museum, hosts the first and second place winners in each category, so I had to run off to drop Hope Rising at its next venue. My good friend Ginger Ryerson who curates the art wall there and the art shows was there for the intake. Hope Rising is a heavier piece so I helped her hang it.
I get inspiration when at art fairs from my neighbors. At the SouthWest Festival last weekend the booth across from me was selling metal cacti and palm trees. It inspired me to write a sonnet about the real thing.
Cacti protect themselves with spiky skin
from critters that would like to eat their flesh,
but on account of that protective mesh
of thorns, cannot get to the juice within.
Cacti may bloom when given sufficient rain.
The pincushion creates a sudden flower,
bright in the sun, until another shower,
with nectar got bees spreading pollen down the chain
of life. Some cacti hide their spikes inside –
the poison pencil’s not the one to chew.
Others make buds that drop and roll and root anew
and spread their kind through desert far and wide.
So if your home’s where little water went
it’s probably best to be a succulent.
I spent some time in early August hoping we would get rained on, without joy. I was hopeful yesterday too, with a wind coming up from the gulf, but the dessicating desert air all mopped it up and we just got haze.
I watch the nimbus build across the west
a great gray blanket blotting out the sun,
the gathering of storm has just begun –
we need the rain! The cumulus start to crest
off to the south, into great thunderheads.
The tension builds in the electric air.
I bring the lawn chairs in and thus prepare
for wind that might just tear such things to shreds
with its intensity. I know the drill;
stratus accumulate and start to bear down
as if to smother this belittled town –
they’ll rumble, crack and then they’ll start to spill.
The coulds build up as if to promise rain,
but in the afternoon’s heat dissipate again.
Yesterday evening was the reception for the Calexico 110th birthday celebration at the Carmen Durazo Cultural Arts center. The art show had 110 pieces of art in there. Fortunately it’s a big hall, and there were some paintings in the lobby of which I didn’t take photos.
The reception was well attended and there was a short speech by the Mayor, followed by a group photo of all the participating artists that were present. Enjoy the show!