Monday, March 16, 2009
Back to the 70's
I went to the grocery store after work today to get some essentials and fixings for corned beef and cabbage. Traci has promised to prepare the traditional Irish dish in celebration of the holiday St. Patrick presides over. Traci's dad will usually make corned beef and cabbage and he may still this year but he is in Illinois and we are in Phoenix. He does a fine corned beef and cabbage.
My first day back to work after a three day weekend was not nearly as bad as I thought it would be. It is the middle of the month, the native community is on spring break and business at the clinic was steady. I have begun saying prolonged good bye's realizing I only have nine days left here. The Komatke center is my new work home and some of their employees worked down in Ak Chin with me. Komatke is the Tohona O'Odem word for mountain. The building is 90,000 square feet of health care provision. All of the services have not come on line as the community waits for the budget to come through from the federal government. No one is holding their breath.
Our trip home from Sedona was a little less exciting. We knew we were sending our good friend home the next day, we were all tired, there were too many hours in the car after traffic and missed navigation points.
We woke Saturday to a blue sky only littered with white puffy clouds. The town was having their St Patrick's Day parade directing all the foot traffic across the town away from the business district for the morning. We took advantage of the emptied out streets to shop around for healing crystals, t-shirts and ice cream. We had a nice lunch at a little ice cream/coffee/diner counter. The kids ate an eighth of a giant hot dog burrowed into a small loaf of bread. We promised ice cream after a hike so we headed off to find a hike worthy of our Saturday.
I pulled off the road near a bridge spanning the oak creek canyon. We stepped out walked around the trail and snapped off a few pictures. It was beautiful weather.
After taking two steps on the trail the kids began a relentless campaign for the promised treat and we wound our way back to town for some ice cream.
We piled back into the car and trailed off to I 17 south toward Phoenix. We drove through a little rain, up and down mountains and made a detour into an urban experiment known as Arcosanti.
I have no business remarking on Arcosanti because I don't understand it. A dusty two and a half mile gravel road leads out to a concrete structure off the interstate. There is a visitor's center and a tour. We approached the concrete structure housing the visitors center while two women were heading toward the parking lot. They stopped and gushed how wonderful the tour was, how it was definitely worth the money, ten dollars. We resolved investigate finding the next tour was an hour away. We dawdled in the visitors center, reading the posters and eyeing the crafts without fully understanding what the experiment was all about.
The few facts I took away was the area was designed for communal living within a self sustaining fabricated environment, greenhouses to provide food, solar panels for electricity.
The project ran out of funds somewhere in the seventies and was left in a state of half finished limbo. People reside there today. I can't tell you what they do or provide for themselves. I don't know why the buildings are nearly all half domes. The tour may have helped explain some of this but the next one didn't start for another hour, we had three tired hungry grown ups and three curious energetic children who had recently spent two hours strapped to a leather seat inside the van. We couldn't guarantee any one's safety or sanity for a full hour. The tour then lasted an hour putting us back in Phoenix later than we wanted to be. We walked out onto a visitors path and found ourselves in the middle of the complex where we were gently redirected, due to liability (something anyone from Madison County Illinois understands and appreciates with a finer distinction), to the exit.
The gentleman who designed the space still lives in Phoenix and visits his creation several times a year. See for yourself http://www.arcosanti.org/