|Do you see anything special in this kaleidoscope image?|
Read further to discover the answer!!!
|Verde = green|
So I start at the end, which brings me back to the ukuleles on our last night in the Verde. Jerome's Saturday Art Walk is a monthly event where the shops glued to the side of the mountain (they have to be, otherwise why aren't they falling down the hill?) remain open late into the evening, inviting customers to browse and wander among their goods. Owners put out cookies, snacks, and even champagne to celebrate being alive in this mining-town-turned-hippie enclave.
|Approaching Jerome; up up up we go|
This was not a haphazard gathering of people who happened upon the art gallery for a random ukulele jam. Oh, no! This was the Jerome, Arizona Ukulele Orchestra. With a fiddle and guitar tossed in for good measure, this practiced group of probably over a dozen musicians welcomed the gallery's guests, and announced their first song: Should I Stay Or Should I Go, an 80s punk-rock classic from The Clash. Say what? The Clash, a la ukulele? Yup, take a listen:
Serenaded by Bizarro World Clash music, I wandered through the gallery. Color color color, things things things, art art art.
An open window looked across the sky, the sun setting over red rocks in the valley below.
I felt oddly grounded on this shaky hillside, firmly knowing that I am exactly where I want to be, experiencing exactly what I wanted to experience at this very moment. I love times like that--where the present is all you need because it fills your senses and soul, and you don't want to think about anything else.
We walked by the fenced-in foundation of an old hotel, virtually gone except for the concrete basement floor and one toilet, that has become the target for coin-tossers.
Continuing backwards through our weekend, before the coin-filled toilet and ukuleles, we went to the "store you MUST check out!" that sells kaleidoscopes. And to think I had almost demurred when our B&B owners made that claim. Kaleidoscopes are for kiddie birthday parties, right? But, if you're anywhere near Jerome, I'll parrot what they told me: You MUST check this shop out.
|The first kaleidoscope greets you at the door;|
check out these flowers!
|Add a little history to your brothel-turned-kaleidoscope shop|
Kaleidoscopes of every shape, size, and style surrounded us. Bright lights and little vignettes of shells, soaps, paper, coins, toys, sea glass, and other knick-knacks were strategically placed at the end of many scopes for customer's viewing pleasure. Customers who, upon walking through the shop's door, were immediately transformed into wide-eyed children, delighting in each colored mosaic and hopping from one to another like sugar-addicted hummingbirds at our backyard feeders. Yes, I guess they are for kids--and everyone in the shop became one for just a little while.
Some kaleidoscopes were simply stunning--obviously very old, made of solid brass or other hardy material. Some were whimsical; all were pieces of artwork unto themselves.
Suffice it to say, hearing The Clash by ukulele felt almost normal, after driving up the side of a mountain, wondering why and how an actual town with actual buildings can violate the laws of physics and continue to exist; then walking the narrow, winding roads; visiting with friendly shop owners over champagne; aiming a coin towards a toilet; and seeing worlds changed to a multi-faceted colorful mash-up.
|Artwork along a side street in Jerome, AZ|
|...and looking down|
|...and looking all around|
|Arizona's own land of Oz...the Verde Valley|
One of our favorite stops in old town Cottonwood was a clock shop. We lucked out that it was open, as it is owned by an extremely jovial, engaging gentleman named Charles who may or may not want to open it on any given day. He fiddles around with just about any object and can make a clock out of it. Hubcaps, kitchen gadgets, CDs, and even bicycle seats have clock faces and are crammed onto each wall or surface. Again--one of those walk-by shops for me (why would I want to see a clock shop?) that once I ventured through the door, I didn't want to leave. I couldn't take my eyes off all the clocks--and kept seeing new ones as I rotated my wide eyes around again.
|Where else would you find hubcaps next to a cheese grater?|
Striking up an animated conversation with Charles, we brought up the news that had spread 'round the world that June day--the death of Mohammed Ali. Charles relayed a story about his youth--how his mother would gather the family around for each dinner, and make a point to discuss world news and drive home some philosophical point that made the family talk, think, debate, and learn. When Ali was imprisoned for deliberately declining to serve in Viet Nam, standing up for his beliefs and almost certainly harming his career potential, Charles' mother used that event to remind her children how important it was to stand up for your beliefs. Contrary to what may have been public derision or skepticism about Ali's decision at the time, she was adamantly respectful of it, and used that as a lesson for her children to stand up for themselves despite real or superficial ramifications. So here we were at this unique shop, surrounded by the ticks and tocks of a thousand clocks, marveling at what's meaningful in life, and, ironically, at the passing of time.
|John and hub Bruce, having a good time with (center)|
happy clock shop dude Charles
|Yes, that's a green rubber swimming flipper|
|Wine, a sweet little bird, and the perfect luggage tag as souvenirs for me....|
Our best discovery of the weekend was The Vineyards Bed & Breakfast (so freakishly appropriate, eh?), owned by an absolutely delightful couple, Tambrala and Bruce, who left the world of high-tech behind and envisioned a life grounded in a home-based business. Their philosophy was that their B&B guests were family guests. As such, we were invited into their lives--they joined us for coffee over a delicious breakfast, and encouraged us to spend the evening at their pool and tiki bar with some family friends. Their gentle, friendly dog Maya was a welcome fixture around, and in, our casita. An enormous weeping willow, manicured grounds and grassy lawn, the almost humid June heat (yes, it can get humid in Arizona!), and enough wine to last a year created an atmosphere of relaxation, of which we took full advantage.
|Our kitchen window view|
|The intrepid explorers: Bruce, John, and Sharon, over breakfast. Yum.|
|Our dining room table; what an incredible piece of furniture!!!|
Complete with mosaic cheese and fruit plate (bottom left) and both red and white wine
|Owners and new friends Tambrala and Bruce|
|A neighbor's interesting back yard. Inquisitive minds want to know:|
what IS all this stuff?
|Ah, we see. 'Tis most definitely...stuff!|
|Up The Creek (image slurped from Google, sorry, I don't have a good pic)|
|View from our table as we enjoyed roasted Brussels sprouts or |
a golden beet salad...
|...while a great blue heron visualized its dinner, willing a fish to appear|
|Here's a closer look at the first image of this blog entry. Now what do you see?????|
A kaleidoscope of characters!