It’s been almost two months since I posted any of the street art images that I’ve collected since my return to Phoenix, and while this one isn’t typical of the city’s offerings, it is a rather grand image on a down-town building in the central corridor.
The mural is on the south-facing side of the Fast Signs building at 2517 North Central in Phoenix. I’m not sure how long it has been there and I don’t know anything about how or why it came to be. I searched for what appears to be the artist’s information via the website information that they provided on the far left side of the mural, but was directed to a nail-fashion site…so it’s probably not related. When I Googled the name of the mural, I found this link with photos that show the artists actually painting it….
And if you’re interested in viewing earlier posts on street art in Phoenix and Salt Lake City, you can scroll to the bottom of the page, find the Categories widget toward the right side, and click on Street Art – Graffiti.
Thanks for visiting…now go Find Your Direction…..
We’re used to seeing them like this, out in the desert wilderness of Arizona and other southwestern locales, or possibly even in other parts of the world….
Or we take a closer look and see the spines in their protective glory and the plump fruit that is awaiting harvest by desert creatures…and humans, too.
But we don’t often get a view of what is inside those cactus “leaves” to witness what must be the vascular highway that provides the overall structure while transporting water and nutrients from one part of the plant to another as the seasons demand….
I think there is a particular “something” about the structure of the cactus’s leaves…a sort of compelling and abstract beauty….
I had thought these were the Vermillion Cliffs, thought I had seen them named as such on a map somewhere, but when I was researching them to be certain, I found that they are the Echo Cliffs…. The Vermillion Cliffs are a landscape feature and national monument a bit to the north and west of these.
Some might argue that this structure is not a proper hogan…and they might be right. But I have seen several of them scattered about this bit of the Navajo reservation and they fit the concept of what I understand a hogan to be…a traditional Navajo home or lodging.
Some of the ones I’ve seen along this stretch of road have been more circular in form, but overall, they are similar in construction and style to this sand/flag-stone house. While this structure appears to be abandoned with its missing window panes, it might still be used for ceremonial purposes…but, I really don’t know.
The Echo Cliffs are a prominent feature of the drive for about 45 miles along Highway 89, stretching from Gap (yes, that’s the name of a town/community) to about 25 miles south of Page. The images above and below are looking south…and if we could see past the extreme right edge below, we would be able to look out over the Painted Desert to the east.
This last image is looking north from the same location…with the hogan being a couple of hundred yards to the right.
That’s all for now…..
This was a return, of sorts, to that former place, that home in the “used to be,” an incomplete migration, however…just a trip, a delivery, an instance of human transport from one place to another…taking my Little One to a halfway point between here and there where we would and did meet his older brother and family; a drop-off, an hour’s visitation, and then the return trip to the southern desert that is now home.
I’ve passed along this stretch of road countless times, now…back and forth, from Phoenix to Salt Lake City, this way and that, comings and goings, to one home and another, cars and trucks journeying over a familiar expanse of time and distance, emotion-laden memories, heartbeats, racing minds…acceptance….
With hours alone in the truck with my eyes and mind racing over the landscape, I recalled places in the contexts of other trips, heard echoes again of old conversations held on this road or in the places at each end of it…I remembered the road, too, and anticipated landmarks that would soon appear on the various horizons or at the end of a particular curve, around that far bend in the road and up against the fence-posts that remain in their ever places.
The images come from a particular stretch of that road, US Highway 89, heading south from Kanab, Utah, and representing in their randomness the terrain that exists up to just a mile or so north of the Utah/Arizona border.
It wasn’t intentional, really…it just happened this way…. After I made a few images of the fence-posts wending their way through the waist-high grasses and the carved-away, undulating fields of silver-gray sage, it struck me that the connecting threads of what I was looking at through the camera were those lines of wire and post…the common thing drawing together that changing landscape, keeping it whole as it was separate….
Red and purple mesas, white and gray and tan and brown rock with their layers of ancient sediment fading into cone-shaped forms of sand and dust riding down from their tops and sides onto an even lower sea-floor…golden grasses, verdant shrubs of various hues, richly green juniper trees, and the constant silver-gray of the unflowered sage…all connected and drawn into a constant vision of roadside landscape by the unspooled wire with its metal and wooden posts so ordered.
Looking north from the road at this point, in the photo below, one sees what is likely the southern edge of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument….
…and looking south, one can see what is likely the extreme northern edge of the Paria Plateau, the mass of land that is bounded by the Vermillion Cliffs and The Grand Canyon…south from here.
The grasses in the foreground struck me as more compelling than the skyline with the low mesa in the background of the below photo.
Several miles down the road and the fence looked the same, but the vegetation was changing…looking west…
…and looking south and east…to the northern reaches of Lake Powell….
The other side of the road revealed more “plain” cliffs of dirty brown and gray…that end-up having gray/blue sediment cones running down from their edges as this mass gets closer to the lake.
The road is now heading southeast, flying straight and fast towards the imaginary line that separates Utah and Arizona from one another…a contrivance that means nothing when watching the land flow into itself from one region to the next.
The last three images are essentially facing west, with Lake Powell to the east behind us. Notice this first image is looking directly over the fence-line…
…and this one, above, is looking to the left/south at another sediment mass that is slowly losing itself with large chunks falling out of its wall and creating a cavern that has also lost its ceiling…and the last image is looking to the right/north at what is actually the forward extension of the mass (to the right and out of frame) in the first of these last three photos.
I guess that’s it…representing approximately 75 miles of scenery between Kanab and the Utah/Arizona border, these 16 images are only a handful from the several-dozen that I made along this roadway…little delays that combined to add more than two hours to the five-hour drive home.
Thank you for enduring the longer post…I hope you enjoyed the drive.
If you remember seeing that ribbon of green in the third-to-last photo, three posts back, this is what it looked like from the inside….a bit of an unusual micro-environment full of fantastic trees, shrubs, and grasses that appeared rather unexpectedly, smack-dab in the middle of the desert.
I don’t know the names of most of the larger trees, but there are mesquite and assorted palo-verde on the fringes.
I don’t know the origin of the name of the place, either, but if we were to follow the stream-bed forward, in the above photo, a couple/few miles, we would run into, or at least approach, the proximity of Sheep Gulch Spring…….that’s the way it looks on a map of the area, anyway.
Maybe it’s not a miner’s shack, maybe it belonged to a shepherd, I don’t know…it was just a guess…and quite possibly wrong, as there were none of the other signs indicating that a mine had been dug there….no slag or tailings pile…no water chute….
I didn’t explore the little cave/shaft beneath the shack, either…it seemed rather imprudent at the time, given the poor lighting and the propensity for hidden and biting things to be lurking in such a place…okay, maybe not lurking, but certainly things that had tucked themselves away from the direct sun and would not have been welcoming of my curious bipedal disruption….
And below is the shack in the context of its surroundings…quite a place to perch one’s self, if you ask me….
I kept walking upstream a little bit, as I was looking for a soft place to sit in the shade and recoup myself before heading back for the next 2.5 hours hiking to return to the truck.
After a quick snack, I headed back toward the main trail, the Black Canyon Trail going south again toward Bumble Bee Road. Those are the Bradshaw Mountains in the background of the below photo, and a distinctly misshapen Saguaro in the upper right corner. It looked something like a smashed finger…or perhaps the still-webbed fingers/hand of an embryonic life-form.
Lastly, this is the view looking east on the bridge that crosses the stream, and the exact place that has the moniker of Sheep Gulch on the map. I know that some of those trees are cottonwoods, but, as I mentioned earlier, I’m not sure of the majority of the others. At any rate, they seem to thrive in the stream-beds of this portion of the Sonora Desert…and they cast a beautiful shade during the near-noon portion of the day.