Spring Equinox and the Super Worm Moon

March 20, 2019: the first day of spring – the equinox, full moon and the third and final Super Moon of the year. That’s a lot of weight for one little day to carry. I was curious about what it all means, so I consulted those most in touch with and knowledgable about the cosmos – astrologers, of course!

This is what they had to say about this overwhelming energy.

Under this Libra Super Moon, “we are going to be guided to enter into the new.” Under these three Super Moons, they say, “we have been encouraged to tune into our intuition . . . to purge and release all that is holding us back.”

Under these Super Moons, they say we have been guided to clear the slate and set ourselves “back to zero” and prepare for the new chapter that is ahead.

March’s Full Moon “opens a portal to a new wave of energy. It falls around the same time as the Equinox, which is the start of the astrological year and the beginning of a new cycle.”

And, get this! “Zero is the number of infinite potential, and it’s no coincidence that the March Full Moon falls at zero degrees of Libra. At the time of the Full Moon, we will actually have three planets in the cosmos aligned at the vibration of number zero, which means the Universe is just going to be blossoming with potential.”

Wow!

“. . . the Libra Moon will be calling us to take inventory of how we are using our energy and to assess whether we are using it in a way that serves us or drains us . . . we may realize that we need to let things go, and to do away with things take up too much of our precious energy reserves” This is interesting because that’s exactly what I’ve been called to do during the past week.

This Full Moon reminds us to center ourselves, to return to the blank slate . . . get perfectly balanced, so we can feel more peaceful and in tune with our lives.

Stay on this path, one astrologer says, because April also brings another Libra Full Moon, and this will bring the closing of the portal.

We will have one lunar cycle to integrate these new energies and walk into the new.

A final warning from one seer:

“Full moons tend to make us purge and release things from our lives, The bright light of the sun throws a spotlight on our subconscious and our shadow. This can feel uncomfortable as the Sun literally blasts out the demons who have nowhere to hide. Often the full moon is a time when we reap what we sowed at the new moon . . .  for good or for ill.”

“The veils between the worlds are thinnest around a full Moon, so be very careful what you invite in.”

Happy Spring!

The Invisible Wall at Boquillas

I crossed the border to visit Boquillas del Carmen, a tiny rural village next to the Rio Grande in the prinicipality of Ocampo, in the Mexican state of Coahuila. The town was recently featured in a New York Times article in which the reporter visited border towns to portray life on each side. At the time, Boquillas was suffering from the U.S. government shutdown; it’s largely dependent on tourism.

The U.S. makes it simple for its citizens to venture to the other side. I had taken my passport along on my trip to the Big Bend area of Texas, just in case something strange arose, such as a need for prove my citizenship. You never know, right?

A few days before my trip began, the shutdown ended and the passage to Boquillas opened up again. I hadn’t planned on going over, but a few days into my trip I decided I could fit it in, and, why not? I had never been south of the border, and it was a quirky opportunity.

On the day of my crossing, I drove through Big Bend National Park to the little southwestern style Border Crossing Port of Entry building.

I went in and showed my passport to the agent. He looked through my backpack. OK, that’s it. I was approved to go.

“How do I go?” I asked the agent. “Through that door and follow the path to the river,” he pointed. I stared at The Door. The magical door to the other world.

I returned to my car briefly to figure out what to wear and take, and then walked excitedly back to the building. I gave a nod to the agent, ensuring he remembered just seeing and approving me, and opened The Door.

A lovely welcoming sign outside the port of entry building

I found the dirt path and walked the short distance to the river bank. I looked across. There it was: Mexico. The storied rowboat that I had read about awaited me.

The Rio Grande is narrow and shallow here, facilitating friendly relations and easy passage and trade between countries over the past centuries. Even the customs agent had seemed easy going and not too concerned about anything.

The boat trip lasted maybe two minutes. I admired the oarsman’s strength and wondered whether he was the only one who had to make the round trips many times a day, every day of the week.

On the Mexican bank stood many local men, who waited to take visitors by burro, horseback, or pickup truck into town. I opted for a burro, after seeing most tourists on them.

Burros waiting

A couple of firsts: first time in Mexico, first time on a burro (or donkey, as they are interchangeably used).

My guide was selected for me, by a process unknown to me, and he then selected my burro. Daniel was my guide and Machete was my ride.

Preparing Machete

I hoisted myself up to the animal’s back. It was not an easy task.

Daniel

The saddle was hard and the walk into town was sometimes bumpy on the dirt track. If a truck was coming down the road, Daniel would shout “Burro,” and Machete would move over. Again, I wondered how many times in a day or week that Daniel did this. I paid $5 for the boat ride. I paid another $5 for the burro ride. How much did Daniel get to keep? He did not own the burro, so I imagine there is a big cheese somewhere who owns the burros and “employs” the guides.

Me and Machete

When we got within sight of town, it was time for me to dismount, so Daniel could tie up the burro where he could rest, and we could walk up the hill.

Horse and burro resting area

 

Here come the tourists

I did not ask too many questions of Daniel, but I did learn that he was born there and has lived there all his life. It’s a hard life, I’m sure.


But the village, with a population of about 100, is run entirely on solar energy!

Solar energy panels for the village.
A colorful bar front

Daniel gave me a tour of Boquillas, during which we passed very modest homes, a couple restaurants, a bar, a grocery store, a school, a health clinic, a customs office, and the solar energy facility. I was amazed at that, and happy for the residents. I especially liked the colorful buildings.

Modest homes
Disused buildings

In front of many homes, along the street, there were tables filled with handmade crafts. It seems everyone makes the same items: small beaded, wire-framed figures of ocotillo cactus, roadrunners, spiders, scorpions and such, and embroidered objects and T-shirts.

My little handmade roadrunner and ocotillo, each just a few inches tall.

Many items proclaimed No Wall and No Al Muro. I wanted to get something with that message, for sure.

Dunes

One surprising feature of my tour was a look at some sand dunes. I have seen sand dunes before, so I wasn’t too enthused when Daniel offered to show me theirs. But, when we got to the viewpoint, yowza! It was stunning.

It was lunchtime and I had to choose a spot to try the local cuisine. I settled on one and sat outside with Daniel.

My favorite decor at the Boquillas Restaurant

We both enjoyed “Mexican” Cokes, made with Mexican sugar, the owner proudly pointed out. Another first for me! I offered to buy lunch for Daniel, but he declined. Another American couple sat at a nearby table.

While we waited for our food, we tourists stepped inside the small eatery to check out the crafts for sale. Women were busy in the small open kitchen, making our food. There were T-shirts and religious items, along with table cloths and food items. When I spotted a shirt with a burro, I had to get it. Machete would live on once I returned to Seattle.

It was easy to see how tourism is the life blood of Boquillas. I couldn’t buy something from everyone there, but I could help in my small way. I tried not to seem like the typical American tourist, and I hope I succeeded. I had purchased a couple items from a woman near the other end of town, and then after meeting Daniel’s wife and young son, I bought a couple more from them.

Daniel’s wife, with her handicrafts
Daniel prepares to take me back to the rowboat

Then it was time to head back across the “big” Rio Grande. We collected Machete and I hoisted myself up again. I turned and waved “Adios, Boquillas.” When we got to the river, the boat was waiting, with the other couple already seated.  I dismounted, said goodbye to Machete, thanked Daniel and started to walk toward the boat. Suddenly Daniel said, “My tip?” I was startled. I had not even thought of a tip! I quickly went to my wallet and found a few dollars.

Savoring the last minutes on the Rio Grande

Back on U.S. soil, the couple and I looked at each other and were sad that our little adventure had ended. We chatted about how we wanted to do more traveling.

I kept thinking I should have given Daniel a much bigger tip. He had walked me round trip, in the sun, on the dusty trail, showed me all around the village, sat while I ate, and allowed me to take his picture. Because the residents take only cash, I had spent most of my small bills, so I didn’t have much to give except a large bill. I wondered if the burro owner pays the guides at all.

The experience was definitely worth it and I recommend it to anyone who is going to Big Bend. I’m sure visiting Boquillas for a brief excursion into Mexico is a much more personalized and authentic experience than crossing the border at, say, Juarez or Tijuana. And it reinforced the knowledge that we Americans are so lucky to be able to cross borders freely, to come and go, while others are not so fortunate.

Artistic scorpion “window” at the Port of Entry building

Vi-a-duct

a bridge composed of several small spans for crossing a valley, dry or wetland, or forming an overpass or flyover. (Wikipedia)

a long elevated roadway usually consisting of a series of short spans supported on arches, piers, or columns. (Merriam-Webster)

Seattle’s Alaskan Way Viaduct certainly was that. Unlike its more picturesque cousins around the world, this viaduct was not built of stone and did not have attractive arches. It was not a thing of beauty.

The Viaduct along the Great Wheel, with a ferry and West Seattle in the background

It was purely functional. Built of concrete and steel in 1953, it had two levels, one going north, and one going south. It stretched about two miles along the waterfront, affording very pleasant views of Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains.

The long gray line – the Viaduct bisecting downtown and the waterfront.

That’s the thing that will be most missed by drivers. The views.

Looking north
View at Pike Place Market

The elevated roadway reached the end of its useful life, helped along by the Nisqually earthquake in 2001, which damaged the viaduct. Ever since then, the roadway was closed for a couple days every six months for safety inspections. It was slowly sinking, but every inspection gave the A-OK for it to continue to be used.

 

However, the debate about how to replace it spanned more than a decade. The final determination was that a tunnel would be built and the viaduct would come down.

After years of drilling the tunnel, the day of reckoning has finally come, a little behind the original schedule. The viaduct has been closed forever, and it’s three weeks till the new tunnel opens.

The paint fairy came once.

What are commuters and drivers to do? Take public transit and have a lot of patience!

 

Happily, I no longer have to commute. But two days into the new age, I ventured downtown by bus to have a look and take some pictures. What I found was a scene of tranquility. If it could only last.

It’s my domain now.

Jack Frost was Here

This morning it was below freezing. It’s been said that Nature was the first artist.

And so she painted in frost on my deck railing!

It is the life of the crystal, the architect of the flake, the fire of the frost, the soul of the sunbeam. This crisp winter air is full of it. – John Burroughs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness. – John Steinbeck

Winter is a glorious spectacle of glittering fractals complete with a soundscape and atmosphere entirely its own. – Anders Swanson

 

 

 

Read into it

I was at a local library branch today for an art show reception. I am proud to have three photos on display, next to some really amazing art.

I saw this scene and loved the juxtaposition.

Art vs. headlines

 

Now, here are the three photos I submitted. I did abstracts this year.

Placement in the library:

I’m sad that the first one had terrible glare on it and was pretty hard to view. In some cases, my photos seem overshadowed by huge paintings! Next year my prints will be larger and in frames.

Actual photos

Here you can view the actual images. Enjoy!

Trapped Moon
Morning Vision
I Dream of Trees