Four Corners, Utah (part 3)

Destination Unknown

June 6, 2019

Once again I needed a day to process. And to recover. Mentally. I was expecting the Monument Valley to be breathtakingly beautiful instead what stole my heart once again, was the landscape all around me. And Bryce. But that was almost obvious. Don’t get me wrong, seeing those rock formations is still something amazing, but …there’s a but. Arizona, just like New Mexico, is too underestimated. I don’t like this. I took my time driving back and forth through almost four States today to see as many things as possible because they were all mainly a stone thrown one from the other. Not by chance the area is called Four Corners, because it’s right within the borders of Utah, New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado.

Driving and visiting more than one place, together with the emotional atmosphere of Bryce Canyon at sunset, brought up so many memories, so many thoughts, so many reflections. I also had to MarieKondo a few things from my past. After realizing that all the people from the past I got in contact with during this trip, were even too busy to meet, out of town (but then, is it true?), completely ignoring my messages or simply apologizing for not making it, I decided that this was not “sparking any sort of joy” in me, therefore, I need to throw it away (that’s the Marie Kondo technique basically). The only contacts I had throughout my journey were either with people I randomly met, or suggested by mutual friends so we could spend a couple of hours together, or my “Cambridge” friend. So…I guess, enough with the past, bring it on future! What actually made me think about it, was a message from another friend from the past that, to my question: “why don’t you come visit me now that you’re all settled and rich? Lol” he answered “eh, I lost interest in America with time”. Ok, that America word? Imagine while I do the “quote” gesture with my index and middle fingers, folding them down. I wish I could meme this but anyway… the point is, I lost interest in “America” (in quotes) could simply stand for “our friendship” or “you” in general. After all, we haven’t seen for exactly 10 years now, but I must be the only one who does not get affected by time on an emotional level. I could still see you after months, years, centuries, and I would still act as if I saw you yesterday. Eh. Using my typical expression: whatever. I actually asked many friends to come see me, to visit me, because there’s always that excitement of showing them where I live, what I do, even if it’s a crappy studio and I have no career (yet). Nobody ever came. Now that the studio’s gone as well, I guess I’ll stop asking.

From the early morning spent at the Monument Valley, to lunch time at Lake Powell and the Horseshoe Bend, up to chasing the sunset at Bryce, I never stopped for a single second. The emotional state I was in lingered through the evening and the whole Bryce ride was a whole rollercoaster of “fast fast you’ll miss the pink moment”, to “slow slow, stop over here and enjoy the moment”. I took some photos to show you all, but all I wanted to do was to just stare at those vivid colors, with those unexplainable views (I mean, they can be explained it but I can’t explain the way you feel watching them!), while my “being alone feeling” is getting more and more the features of a blessing in moments like this where I can literally do whatever the heck I want because I only have myself to be accountable for. Precious. Just real bliss. I think the photos will speak better than me so here they are. Tomorrow is another day, and something else I have been waiting to visit for so long is Zion National Park, which is right around the corner. See you there.

New Mexico, part 2

Destination Unknown

July 5, 2019

We need to break the habit. That’s the only thing I can think of while standing here, looking all around me in awe, in front of the stupefying scene that opens before me. New Mexico, like Utah, is a gem that goes too often underestimated. I drove through almost infinite red rocks mountains, scrublands, a desert where you can see the highway stretching for miles and miles, but not only that. Mountain peaks, forests, rios and rivers, plus of course, my beloved sand dunes. The variety that New Mexico offers makes me wonder. I am here, almost crying at the beauty I feel so lucky I can witness, and I see people driving by, careless. I feel jealous seeing those who can wake every morning at the sight of these spectacles of nature and I feel bad because, once again, I feel there is something missing that I am not getting quite well enough yet. Then here it comes: they’re so used to it they just live their lives IN IT and, hopefully they’re constantly content about it. I say hopefully, because most of the times I know it’s not. We need to break the habit. That’s the only thing I can think of while standing here, looking all around me in awe, in front of the stupefying scene that opens before me. New Mexico, like Utah, is a gem that goes too often underestimated. But then I think of the way my foreign friends felt seeing where I come from while visiting, in the past. “You can see the Dolomites from your bedroom window?” or “we’ve been driving for not even an hour and I’ve already seen all the beauties you usually see in those pamphlets they give you at the travel center”. “You’re so lucky!” and I would usually go “meh”. I chuckle remembering when a friend from Mount Holyoke told me she grew up in Flagstaff, Arizona, at the feet of the Grand Canyon, and I told her exactly the same things people were saying to me. She would say “it’s somewhere I just grew up in, you see it every day you just get used to it”. And it is true. Sad but true. We get used to the beauty around us to a certain extent that we almost forget about it. We need to take a step back and unlearn what we’ve been seeing for so long because we need to be amazed every single minute by these marvels. Am I right?

I came in through Roswell, woke up in Las Cruces, stopped for lunch in Albuquerque and then slept in Farmington. South to North, New Mexico accompanied me dearly, and I am grateful for what I experienced. Moreover, I had lunch with a wonderful human being, introduced to me by a mutual friend, at a cute and cozy restaurant in Albuquerque who reminded me of all those nice people out there who are part of those “worth saving” in case of an imminent Apocalypse. And considering the earthquakes that are happening in Southern California this week, I guess we’re not even too far from the X hour. Just like me, and apparently all the people I am encountering lately, she was tested by life, she got broken and she fixed back her pieces, so we connected right away. We were meant to meet. While running around the San Juan College campus before getting ready for the night, I was listening to this song, which is always on my randomized playlist, called Annihilation by A Perfect Circle, and it just closed the day reminding me that …it is up to us. Everything. Is. Up to us.

From dehumanization to arms production
For the benefit of the nation or its destruction
Power is power, the law of the land
Those living for death will die by their own hand

Life’s no ordeal if you come to terms
Reject the system dictating the norms
From dehumanization to arms production
To hasten the nation towards its destruction

It’s your choice, your choice
Your choice, your choice
Peace or annihilation.

Texas and New Mexico

Destination Unknown

Can’t really say much about Texas. I drove through the thinnest part of the State, but the views were one of a kind. Yellow and its darker shades started appearing before my eyes. No more green, if not sporadically thanks to bushes and trees. All the colors of sand, burned sand, ochre, sienna, maroon, beige, umber, ok basically brown, were all around me, and I enjoyed it all like a cup of hot chocolate on a freezing winter day. Outside it’s 100 degrees F, but those are details. I woke up in Texas and I started my long trip to New Mexico. Sand dunes await me and I cannot wait. I still have food from the day before so I have breakfast in the car and just drive, drive, drive. I only stop for gas and to give my windshield a wash. Those poor butterflies, and moths, and insects of any kind may rest in peace.

I reach Roswell, NM around noon. What. A. Day. After my favorite scenario of finding myself driving alone through a loooong single road through nothing, enjoy every, single, little, bit, of it, I parade along this town that reminds me of a show I used to watch many years ago, called obviously Roswell. Not the new one, which I haven’t seen yet, but may start once back somewhere with a good connection for my Netflix and Hulu accounts. No. I’m talking about the one where the actress playing Isobel Stevens in Grey’s Anatomy (curtsy, please) a.k.a. Katherine Heigl is playing the part of an alien, but the story is too long so just google it. Being in Roswell was surreal. Aliens are everywhere (real or not it is up to you to —believe), despite the actual UFO incident happened more than 50 miles away from the city. What was super weird is that, at my regular stop at Starbucks, where my restroom breaks are getting more and more expensive, something supernatural actually happened. A guy was sitting at a table and I swear to all the Gods he was my friend from Boston College, Mario. Everything looked like him. Even the shape of his lips which are particularly specific. The way he was dressed, the way he was working on his computer, the way he put his hat on. Every little detail, even the haircut. I secretly snapped a photo and sent it to both Matteo, the other friend from B.C, and to Mario of course. Matteo was shocked as much as I was. He said “you’re in Roswell, paranormal activity is normal”; Mario, typical for his Narcissus-like personality, said: “he’s hot, I want his number.” I had to laugh. Funny story to tell, but that was it. Nothing more. Except for all the movies in my head where I would actually approach him and tell him the whole story of Laura, Matteo and Mario. Whatevs. Roswell. Yes. I had fun looking around, but I was looking forward to getting to my beloved dunes.

White Sands Monument Park was a dream. Gypsum sand dunes are rare and this location is the widest in the whole world. I feel lucky. It is a very hot day so even the rangers suggested to not walk on the trails and just stay where vegetation is still visible, so I did. I found a spot on the top of a dune and I chilled for a couple of hours, enjoying the sand like a dog enjoys grass, rolling and sinking, getting all covered in white sand and sun bathing. A very nice way to spend the Fourth of July, and to honor my current Independence. Thankfully not so many people were around and only later, around sunset, we all gathered at a meeting spot to take the Sunset Stroll with the ranger who explained to us the history and the formation of the the White Sand Dunes. Fascinating. Too bad the military occupied part of the land to turn it into a missile range area to test weapons and other stuff I am not a fan of. But nature will take care of it eventually, I want to believe so. As for now, enjoy these photos and I wish you all could see it person one day, because it is so much worth it.