11 March 2008

weird, bumpy hillocks

I should be looking out the window because I'm sitting in the Phoenix airport on my way to San Diego for the VRA conference. I borrowed a staff MacBook so I can maybe keep up with email while I'm away. My Macintosh Performa at home still struggles on (I refuse to say soldier on, as the Times seems to say a lot) and I haven't fully decided whether to go lap- or desktop though the idea of laptop is certainly attractive.

So what's outside the window? The Phoenix Skyharbor Airport is quite close to downtown. You can see several downtown skyscrapers but you can also see some red hillocks that look rather than those drip sandcastles that are such fun to make when the sand is fine. For some reason, my Orbitz reservation didn't include seat assignments so I was in a middle seat. The guy next to me kept the shade up and was mostly out of the way but I certainly couldn't study the landscape as I usually would. My flight home is red-eye so that will be minimal too.

Still, those bumpy hillocks are of that wonderful red stone that doesn't show up so much in New York State. At least the dry variety doesn't. My favorite red rock venue is still Caprock Canyons which I visited totally unawares on my way between Amarillo and Fort Worth. I was there mostly alone and not worried about scorpions or rattlesnakes. The sky was bright and clear, the temperature was gentle. The canyons are at the break between the high and low plains. You're just driving along on the flats and, all of a sudden, the land drops a thousand feet or something. It's really incredible. That was just part of a wonderful trip overall: coming home from SAH in Albuquerque; stayed overnight in Canyon and visited the museum there, then Palo Duro Canyon, then did a stair pattern from county seat to county seat. Just me and my little gray-violet Isuzu pickup. It was pretty splendid.

But back to Phoenix ... as we came in toward the airport, I was reading The Middle Sea and looking over the shoulder of my neighbor out the window. Once when I looked up, there was that wonderful view of the city all stretching stretching and then these incredible mountains rising out of nowhere. Nature is so weird.

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