And they prepped us before with a talk by the good Dr. McKim Malville. He was the scientist who followed up on a hunch and unlocked an ancient key – a ritual sky phenomenon, by which our ancestors here in the Four Corners kept count of a unique cycle of celestial events … The great house, sun tower, great kiva, stone basin, and other structures at the Chimney Rock complex, built high on a ridge of a mesa top, were clearly ceremonial, but archaeologists weren’t sure why. After examining sun cycles and the transit of Venus and other heavenly events, Dr. Malville calculated and hit upon the lunar standstill as the likely astronomic candidate … To understand what a lunar standstill really is requires far more math and astronomy than I care to explore, but suffice to say it’s a night sky phenomenon having to do with orbits and tilts and centripetal chaos. Bronze Age megaliths marked this phenomenon in Europe. As did the ancient peoples here in Colorado, it turns out … On Aug. 8, 1988, the last day of the cycle that this phenomena might appear, Dr. Malville and a crew of students and friends climbed to the site and waited for the moon to rise. Of all the cameras, only Dr. Malville’s captured the historic moment, and the evidence of this unique event … Turns out, periods of building at the ridge site corresponded with the occurrence of the lunar standstill cycle – Ridge House (1050 A.D.), East Kiva (1076 A.D.), Great House (1093 A.D.). Building alignments reflected cosmological perceptions. And the sky would have been a major focus of the Chimney Rock observatory after the dazzling events of 1054, when the Crab Nebula supernova was visible in the daytime for three weeks, and 1066, when Halley’s Comet roared through the ancient stars … Oct. 1 we were a motley crew – paying visitors, media, tour guides, guests, and agency folks, tramping up the stone steps in the dark to the mesa top edge and waiting in a light drizzle for the moon that never made it through the clouds. If it had, it would have been the last sighting of this lunar standstill cycle, with the moon not rising again between Chimney Rock spires, until 18.6 years from now.
SUMMER OF LOVE … My friend and master herbalist John Winslow went to the 40th anniversary of the summer of love concert in my hometown of San Francisco a few months back. You can visit a website for the official take, http://sfgate.com/summeroflove, but here are John’s observations as a back-stage participant … “It was sad to see all those once young and strong heroes addled by time and illness, but it brought closure, if not much else. They almost had it right. The only thing that was missing, I figured out after hours of not feeling it quite there, was the acid vibe. And that made all the difference in the world … Seeing the (surviving) heroes of the 60s in wheelchairs and on crutches/canes didn't help the illusion. Especially when I realized I looked no better off than most of them … There will be no 50th anniversary celebration; no one will be left … Backstage the agreement was unanimous: ‘It was a long, long, time ago; everything's changed completely since then, and it was a miracle any of it even happened at all.’ The voice of the old and tired. The torch has been passed – long ago – to those mostly younger people who primarily keep the faith at Black Rock City and elsewhere. Knowing this makes everything all right. And keeps the miracles happening.”
WEEKLY QUOTA … ”A moment I've been dreading. George brought his ne'er-do-well son around this morning and asked me to find the kid a job. Not the political one who lives in Florida. The one who hangs around here all the time looking shiftless. This so-called kid is already almost 40 and has never had a real job. Maybe I'll call Kinsley over at The New Republic and see if they'll hire him as a contributing editor or something. That looks like easy work.” -from the recently published Reagan Diaries. The entry is dated May 17, 1986.
PHILOMENE LONG-THOMAS … Poet friend R.D. “Raindog” Armstrong edits the online litzine Lummox Journal (www.lummoxpress.com) and sent me this email obit … “Friends, I just received word that my friend and fellow poet, Philomene Long-Thomas, passed away … She was found in her Venice Beach apartment … I don't have anymore details about her passing at this time. I am sad and surprised because I did not know that she was ill. Perhaps it is a God-send that she did not suffer much (although she suffered mightily at the loss of her beloved husband, John Thomas). We had talked about doing a Queen of Bohemia book … I remember John told a story about how, when he first met her, they had shared a cup of tea and how after she had sipped from it, he had turned the cup in his hand so that he might sip from the same spot that she had sipped … I thought it was about the most romantic thing I'd ever heard of.”
PALEOSHROOMS? … My friend John McLaughlin found a fascinating article in the July issue of the Smithsonian Magazine, “When Mushrooms Ruled the Earth?” … The article talks about one of the more puzzling life forms ever found on earth, a plant that towered over the landscape 400 million years ago – in the Devonian Period. Prototaxities was the largest land-based organism of its time … Originally it was thought to be “rotted wood” by its namer, the American archaeobotanist J.W. Dawson (1859). In the next century it came to be identified as alga, specifically brown alga. In 2001, after 20 years of research, Francis Hueber published a lengthy paper establishing it as a fungus … Now comes Marc-André Selosse of Paris who proposes that it may have been a kind of lichen, that is, both alga and fungus … For more, go to www.xs4all.nl/~steurh/engprot/eprototx.html.
© 2007 Art Goodtimes
THE TALKING GOURD
With Daniel Ellsburg
warning of a possible coup,
a visit to Mexico
makes some sense
& paz y luz might just be
for the Sturm und Drang of
a tea party gone haywire,
overamped & out of control!!!