Day 4 Ė Tuesday 19 July 2016-07-19

Montezuma and Tuzigoot, thunder and lightning, and a tarantula on a mission


I awoke at 8.30 this morning, it was my first unaided sleep so far. Brunch at 10, I chatted with Ian (the musician) and his partner Gazelle, as well as a couple from New Orleans and photographer Tom Lascell. Tom and I talked about using and teaching old artistic processes with the new, such as using old methods for developing photography with contemporary processes such as digital manipulation. Sadly the conversation was cut a little short as I had to be in the van with about half a dozen others for a day trip to Tuzigoot a 900-year old Sinagua ruin/village, and Montezuma Castle a 700-year old five-story 20-room dwelling built on the side of a cliff. Both sites have been dedicated as National Monuments Ė I was told that a national park is declared by congress, whereas a national monument can only be declared by a president. I had never seen anything quite like either of the two sites, although I really didnít feel anything too much whilst walking around them either. Strange but I felt quite empty. Each location was impressive, and each quite different from the other. Tuzigoot was perched high on top of a hill with vast commanding views in each direction, including Jerome in the distance as well as the most awesome view of a thunderstorm rolling across it, whereas at Montezuma we looked up at it from below. Each site was equally impressive but I still felt a little awkward being there. Clearly I canít explain this yet. Or perhaps I felt strange because just a mile or so down the road, from Montezuma Castle, there was a giant Yapavai/Apache casino that looked like it was expanding as next to it was three huge monstrous concrete blocks being installed.

A storm a brewing Tuzigoot Montezuma Castle National Monument The beautiful rock at Montezuma

Thunderstorms chased us back to the school. By now it was 3pm and sure enough only about 5-10 minutes after being back it hit and I must say it was a nice and rare respite from the hot hot heat of the dry Arizona sunshine. I went to my room, did some writing and a little drawing and watched out of my windows the rain pelt down as it came across the mountains. The rain lasted about 20 minutes and the sun came out again.

Montezuma Castle The bush next to Beaver Creek and Montezuma Castle Tequila and beer, banjo and a muso, cool night and fire, perfect way to end the day A bunch of artists enjoying the merriement

At 4.30 I ventured outside with my book and cup of tea. I sat on the steps of the dining hall and read for a bit. Dinner was at 5 as usual, artists came in right in time from all sides. I sat with Caitlin Myer the writer I met a few days ago, Ella and her partner Keoni (who put together the kava ceremony) and Ellaís sister Rebecca. We talked about Sri Lanka, Norway and Iceland, and Bruce Leeís consciousness.

I saw Melissa after dinner and went over to her studio. I took some video and photos of her performance last night and she wanted copies so I happily obliged. It was now close to 7, the time that a margarita party had been organised at the organic vegetable farm. So I wandered down there, had an Oak Creek Brewery beer and talked with April (painter) and her partner from Louisiana, as well as Robert Possehl (papermaker extraordinaire) and Emma Kruger, a senior at Edgewood College, about there awesome paper making set up (the brainchild of Robert). Midway through the conversation a tarantula walked past. OK, I nearly lost it. Iím not good with spiders and I kept my distance. It did look pretty dopy though and it was on a mission so it just kept on crawling by.

The sunset was a good one, the weather was incredibly mild and somewhat cool after the rain so a fire was lit and shortly thereafter a banjo and guitar came out. Of course thereís many artists here so its not surprising that this occurred and the sing along was great, of course. I stayed for a little while, soak up the tunes, the moonlit night, the silhouettes of the surrounding mountains, the very fine company and excellent tunes being played.

The organic garden

The paper maker intern sat next to me and we talked about her prospects after study. She then offered to give me a bunch of the paper that she and the others had made over the past few weeks being here. How could I refuse? Iíll meet up with her in the morning and weíll work it out. I made the short walk back up the road in the dark. The full moon behind a bunch of whispy clouds provided enough light for me to navigate back to my room. Surprisingly I feel a little tired.