On This Day
1431: Joan of Arc was burned.
1536: Henry VIII married Jane Seymore, his third wife. (Jane was one of the ones who wasn’t relieved of her head.)
1903: Benny Goodman was born.
From my browser history
I missed the deadline for the What We’re Reading Post, so I thought I would inundate you with my current read. In true SP fashion, I always have more books going than time in which to finish them, but currently on the top of my pile is:
Douglas Preston is one of my favourite authors, and as luck would have it, from Santa Fe, New Mexico (where I too spent many years). Because Santa Fe is such a small town, my ex dated Douglas’ daughter in high school, and I had the fortune of meeting Douglas at Java Joe’s on Rodeo Road back in the early 2000s. Douglas usually pens mystery/thriller novels. I first got hooked on his Agent Pendergast series when The Cabinet of Curiosities came out. (If you enjoy mysteries with a particularly morbid bent, give Cabinet a read.)
Talking to the Ground is unlike any of the books he ever wrote, and it is the last book SP ever gave me.
In Talking to the Ground Douglas recounts the summer of 1992 when he, his fiancé, and soon-to-be step-daughter, embarked on a 400-mile horseback journey through the desert of the American Southwest. They visited ancient and crumbling pueblo cities, stayed in hogans, and discovered the wisdom and wonder of Navajo mysticism.
When Mom and I moved to New Mexico, our (now shared) interest in American Indian culture grew stronger as we found ourselves nestled among the ever-vibrant culture of the Pueblo Indians. Mom and I immersed ourselves in the modern cultures of Tesuque (where Mom worked), Pojoaque, and Taos.
My fiancé at the time was Navajo, and he was born and raised in Dine Bikeyah. Together with his young daughter we explored sites like Bandelier, and Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks. As I have been reading Talking to the Ground I have found myself transported back in time to that part of my life through Douglas’ vibrant imagery, journal entries, photographs, maps, and drawings.
It is a powerful book, and my only wish is that I found time to read it while SP was still here.
Unrelated: one of my recent reference book acquisitions is Common Mosses of the Northeast and Appalachians. I am partial to lichens, and I think this will come in handy as I explore the forests this summer.
For Your Ears
I had the pleasure of introducing OMWC to this song. Please tell me I’m not the only one who remembers it.
And, last but not least, a song for SP, who loved Talking Heads.
In Site News:
I have been digging into why the homepage doesn’t refresh when there’s a new post. It’s a caching issue, but it’s still supposed to purge once a post is published. I think I might have fixed it. Let me know if there’s any issues. Also, I figured out how to fix this this 1 .column.size-1of1 showing up on mobile, but it’s going to require some fucking with the code. I’d frankly rather roll out an updated site that addresses multiple problems. In the coming week I’ll put up a post to get your feedback.