My last post, ‘Cloud Portal to the coast’, prompted Caralee Woods of Kanab, Utah, to send her ‘Pink Rain’ photograph with this appended message,
For some reason your photo reminded me of a different kind of rain photo I took sometime back here in the desert, right out my back door. The sun was setting and shining through some virga–rain that doesn’t reach the ground. I thought of Prince’s ‘Purple Rain‘ and decided to call this one ‘Pink Rain.’ The photo wasn’t enhanced, and I like the fact that the sage seems to glow.
Caralee resides with her husband, Jimmy Henley, in Kanab, Utah, where they are building a strawbale compound a few miles from the town. Jimmy and I have been friends since elementary school in the 1950s. In the 1970s, I met Caralee when she was a book representative for Harper & Row publishers. She came into my office at Amarillo College and called me, “Little Francis,” a nickname I had not heard since high school — courtesy of Jimmy, my old school chum.
Their website has several photographs of the guest house, main house foundation and walls, strawbales and their garden: Building Our Strawbale Home! The coloring treatment of their floors is fantastic: a dark copper, desert brown. Caralee and Jimmy established a compound that is off the electrical grid, using solar and backup diesel generators for energy efficiency. Visit their website also for the landscape vistas in her photographs. One of these days I hope to visit them again and see the progress they have made as well as gaze at the glowing sage and pink-virga rain.
Yesterday’s post on “WeBLOG adobe las golondrinas” prompted me to go to Chris Clarke’s Coyote Crossing blog to see what is going on with his desert activism. The ever-present need for economic vitality has visited Clarke with a vengeance upon his life in the desert so that now he is leaving the Mojave for urban Oakland (more than likely Oakland, he writes). He has worked tirelessly to alter the building of the vast solar array out in the Mojave for alternative solar projects on home rooftops, vacant parking lots and probably the cathedral-like roofs of Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley. Do they really need helicopter pads on those roofs? Chris has stopped his car alongside desert roads to aid tortoises get to the other side of the road. There’s no tortoise soup on Chris’s menu.
Here’s a poster from Chris’s website that shows his activism at Mach 1 supersonic speed:
I do like the slap-in-the-face-with-pig-bladder approach on the poster. Not much room for debate, just good straight-forward compromise that favors the people. Davy Crockett would be proud of Chris Clarke. See also Andrew Jackson, Sam Houston who also favored the commonweal. I’m an historian, so you gotta be a little tolerant of my diversions here.
Chris is still going to be active in saving the deserts from a new location. He writes that he has been active on the issue from afar and he will do it again. I will be giving Chris Clarke and Coyote Crossing a Prairie Sagebrush Award 2011 soon. The award doesn’t bring him any money to stay and proselytize, but it will illustrate his fine writing and love of the Mojave.
Do tortoises weep?
Notes, corrections and additions:
Correction from first posting: Chris Clarke has not helped move the tortoise out of the construction area. (That sentence has been removed.) He has stopped his car and aided the tortoise across the roads. See Clarke’s correction in the comments.