Back at the end of January I was standing outside my place-to-stay in Arroyo Seco, NM. Immediately the vivid violent panorama of the snow-covered mountains caught my eye, so I rushed indoors, grabbed my point-and-shoot digital camera and snapped off several photos of the towering peaks, just as the sun was setting in the west. The above picture features a mountain range called the Sangre de Christo mountains. For those of you, who do not understand Spanish, Sangre de Christo literally means “Blood of Christ”. The colorful handle was first applied by the Spanish explorers, who visited this part of New Mexico during the 16th century and took special notice of the intense color of the mountains, displayed as the sun set in the west and cast its rays eastward, illuminating the towering summits in the process. This natural phenomena is very similar to the “alpenglow” found in Switzerland.
Coronado On the Upper Rio Grande
Francisco Vásquez De Coronado was a Spanish explorer, who ventured into the southwestern portions of the United States in 1540, 1541 and 1542. His adventures took him to the Colorado River, many Native settlements in Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. Reportedly, he and his party of explorers traveled as far east and north as Kansas. The above mural can be found in the mountain town of Taos, NM and documents Coronado’s journey north along the Rio Grande, where he encountered many of the Pueblo villages. In 1542 Coronado returned to Mexico, but his footsteps were followed several decades later by other Spanish explorers.
The Sangre de Christo Range
The Sangre de Christo Range in the southern Rockies is quite extensive, for it extends from Glorietta Pass near Las Vegas, NM in the south all the way north to the Colorado Springs area, where the mighty Pikes Peak can be found. The above photo was also taken in the Taos area, but features a different group of peaks located slightly to the north.
This year Veteran’s Day falls on a Sunday. This is a good deal for Vets, for some businesses (such as restaurants) that offer free services – or gifts – on Veteran’s Day, may wait until Monday, while others will observe the 11th as the true holiday. Either way active and inactive servicemen can enjoy the best of both worlds and enjoy a free meal – or whatever – on two days instead of one. No matter what you choose to do on this national holiday, thanks for serving the country. Special thoughts go out to those who have risked (and sometimes lost) their lives in foreign conflicts. Today, we still have Afghanistan ongoing as a military conflict, while Iraq, which claimed over 4,000 American lives, has been complete and silent for almost a year. Hopefully, no new military venture surfaces in the near future, but the world is a dangerous place, so no telling what may happen.
And here is a solemn reminder – in the form of a color photograph – about how much grief and sadness a long war can bring down upon a nation. The picture is of a replica of the Washington Vietnam War Memorial, as it was displayed at Old Orchard Beach on Memorial Day, maybe ten years ago. The shadows and reflections were only partially visualized at the time the picture was shot, but they definitely give the photograph an eerie quality.
We all know that the Fourth of July celebrates the actual date, when the Continental Congress met in Philadelphia and ratified the Declaration of Independence. However, contrary to popular belief the famous document was not actually signed until August 2 of the same year, when all fifty-six delegates officially put their name on the document. However, it is believed that John Hancock placed his showy signature to the written draft on July 4, when the paper was sent to the printer. At the time, John Hancock was one of the wealthiest men in the colonies and also President of the Continental Congress. Perhaps, these impressive credentials are revealed in his expressive penmanship that so effectively embodied the revolutionary spirit of the times.
Despite Hancock’s groundbreaking role in forging the 13 colonies into a fledgling nation, the fervent patriot would find great tragedy in his personal life. John and his wife, Dorothy Quincy, would give birth to only two children, John George Washington Hancock and Lydia Henchman Hancock, neither of whom would live to be a teenager.
And don’t forget. Have a happy and safe Fourth of July.