Pictures from Standing Rock, part 1

On December 4, 2016, the Army Corps of Engineers announced that it would not grant an easement to allow the 1,172 mile long Dakota Access Pipeline to be completed until a thorough environmental impact survey was conducted. Water protectors celebrated with drumming, song, prayer and fireworks. At the time, there were about 12,000 water protectors, representing 400 tribes and living in three camps.

Snapshots from April: Mississippi, Oklahoma, Arkansas

So now that I’m taking lots of iPhone pics, I’m trying to do a monthly round-up of some of my faves but I keep getting behind. It’s spring and, despite being monsoon season in Arkansas, I’ve spent lots of time outside recently. I’ve also spent lots of time obsessing over things probably best left alone. And there’s been lots of procrastination in general. But well into May, here are some snapshots from April…
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Two weeks in northern Italy, in sunsets

The fiery one, igniting boats and cliffs and haphazardly piled, tropical-hued villas in Riomaggiore, as viewed from the rocky shore with at least 100 other admirers.

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The one that shrouded the highest point in a village rising from a castle, all of it adrift in the Mediterranean Sea (after missing the last ferry back, while drinking local wine and eating rosemary biscotti with an idealistic couple from Verona, who love opera and linguistics and wish cruise ships would stop docking in Venice).

The one that streaked, chemically colored, across a flat sky in an unknown, industrial town, where we stopped for a patio after hours hiking the Alps. We were starving, and there was a crowd. It was, undoubtably, the best aperitif spread in town. We only bought the wine for the free sandwiches and pasta.

The first one solo, orange and yellow over the Umbrian hills, surreptitiously absorbed from the rocky overhang of a cliff on the wrong side of the autostrade railing.

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The one that painted the Tuscan mountains, leaning fast into cut-away curves from the back of a motorbike, riding the thrill of breaking into an abandoned hospital with, essentially, a total stranger. Cold wind, sheer drops and rosy patchwork vastness.

The second solo: warm drape over red-clay roofs of Lucca and the purple hills beyond.

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The throngs of tourists snapping photos of mauve-tinged roofs and bridges from Piazzale Micheangelo, dangling high over River Arno.

The last one, an elegant stillness settling over the domed, mist-softened magnificence of Florence, as viewed from the deserted streets of Fiesole.

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(More adventures and visuals to come…)

Clarksdale (we can swim any day in November)

Several weeks ago I met my parents in Oxford, Mississippi for a pre-Thanksgiving celebration. (I worked on Thanksgiving day…shout-out to Dari for supplying the in-law leftovers and wine combo of that night’s Friendsgiving.)

I took highways on the way back to Arkansas, because I haven’t been to Clarksdale in years. First stop was Rest Haven, this Lebanese diner that’s been around for at least half-a-century. I get the same feeling from Rest Haven that I used to get from smoky poker Sundays at my Irish-Italian grandparents house in Vicksburg. Maybe it’s because the middle-aged daughter cooks in scrubs and has the same glossy, dark curls as my aunts. Maybe it’s because of the gruff, chain-smoking old  man  in a khaki windbreaker and a Hard Rock Cafe cap, who leans against the counter in a shaft of mid-morning sun, scoping decades of highway traffic through the open door. A brown paper take-out bundle waits at his elbow (kibbe sandwich) and above his head, there are framed department store photos of three generations of family. (My favorites are from the early-90’s.) Then he returns to his table, rolling silverware, cigarette dangling between two fingers.

I always ask for the coconut cream pie. They have the best. But that day, I had to settle for chocolate and endless cups of coffee. By 11 a.m., the old-timers rolled in for lunch. A white man in a camouflage cap sat beside the owner, but they spoke little. A black preacher came in just to speak with them, then headed out. Everyone who came in knew everyone else. It’s like Luke’s Diner, except that Clarksdale is a far-cry from Star’s Hollow.

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Pakistan’s 2010 flood victims get new houses

Another Pakistan flashback: This girl and her family are 2010 flood victims. On the day I took this photo, they had just been given a new house, compliments of a couple of nonprofits and a generous Belgian man. I love this bright yellow wall, which is actually the color of all the walls in the house. The girl was shy at first, but then she started grinning like she would never stop. Read more about these families here.

Pictures of Pakistani carts

It’s been awhile since I’ve given you any pictures of Pakistan. Okay, actually, it’s been awhile since I’ve given you anything at all. I can’t seem to stay off the road these days, and since an iPad is, unfortunately, not in my immediate future, y’know how it goes…

Anyhow, Pakistan has lots of nifty carts. Here are two of them.

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Wish you were here….Love, New Orleans

Thought I’d post a few more pics from my adventure in New Orleans a couple of weeks back.

That’s John on the right. The whole point of our trip was so that Jayson, as Ming Donkey’s One Man Band, could play John’s farewell bash on Saturday night at the Saturn Bar. A few days ago John left on military deployment to Afghanistan.

This is Guitar Lightening’s band. That’s Paul, proprietor of Green Goddess (yummy food, veggie options), on drums.

This is Liz, dancing to Lightening. She’s cool.

This is Jeremy at 9am on Sunday morning. He’s John’s roommate, and they both hail from Columbus, Mississippi.

This is Jeremy at 11am, at work as a dishwasher at the Green Goddess. And yes, that’s the lovely Liz, at work as a bartender, in the background.
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