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Petroglyphs

  I remember studying the 1940 film adaptation of The Grapes of Wrath in high school. The opening sequence features Henry Fonda’s character walking down a deserted black-and-white highway punctuated with nothing but telephone lines, a four-way stop, and an ancient corner mart with a truck parked outside. Having just been released from jail, Fonda’s Tom Joad talks his way into catching a ride from the lonely trucker and hitchhikes his way back to the family farm near Sallisaw, Oklahoma, unsure of what he will find there after years of incarceration. In spite of the scene’s unprepossessing imagery, there is one shape that is yet glaringly present: a cross. The lonely procession of telephone poles form crosses that shoulder miles of wires, throwing themselves at the actor’s feet in the form of intersecting shadows; the four-way stop echoes the same shape, even the corner mart is aptly named “Cross Roads.” It wasn’t until I passed the real world exit to Sallisaw on I-40 on my four day dr

Balloon Week

  I’d like to dedicate this blog to Katie Ruth, who has claimed to have visited the link every day for the past two months hoping to see that I did, in fact, finally post something. We woke up at five A.M. last Monday for Albuquerque’s most famed attraction, its signature event, its raison d’etre: Balloon Fiesta. Having destroyed my knees on a sixteen mile hike the day before and thereby being half-asleep and quasi-immobile, I staggered and fell bow-legged around the house trying to gather my things, slopped a bowl of cinnamon toast crunch all over my pants, and crawled into the car in a stupor. We parked a quarter mile away from the venue and despite feeling like part of an apocalyptic exodus limping alongside heavy traffic and floodlights during the darkest part of the morning, I was looking forward to it. For hot air ballooners and fans alike, this was the Super Bowl, the March Madness, the Olympic Games of their craft. And here I was to see what all the hype was about. The venu