Thursday, October 05, 2006

Day31.Tucson, AZ

We drove from Lordsburg, NM to Tucson, AZ and it was too hot. My car is a San Francisco car i.e. air conditioner not necessary. However, it would have come in “mighty handy down here, bub”. * We decided to record the Bell in the desert in the evening after it cooled off.

* Nick’s reply in reference to money from “It’s a Wonderful Life”. The scene is Nick’s Bar after Jimmy Stewart gets his wish to see what his life would have been like had he never been born. His guardian angel, Clarence, tells the bartender that he doesn’t have any money to pay for his drink because they don’t use money in heaven.

We drove into the mountains searching for a quiet place away from traffic. It was not to be. It was pretty quiet with the occasional car and more frequent buzz of a small plane. The incredible nighttime chorus of insects more than compensated for our ideal non-machine sound environment. It was thrilling. The air was thick with sound that you’d walk through like streams of water. Those crickets are so directional –one minute you hear a pleasant mix of all kinds of insect songs and the next second you are jabbed in the ear by the most delicate and precise vibration. It was great!

Anyway, we drove the car into the Saguaro National Park after dark and that meant the park was closed. The road was a bumpy washboard that we bounced along for a very long time before we stopped in front of a sandy wash. There was no way to turn around and even after 6000 + miles, U still can’t back up the trailer. So we decided to record in that spot and deal with getting out of there afterwards.


Yesterday we had recorded the sound of the bell as someone walked away from it into the distance. We never go around to doing the reverse so that’s what we wanted to do. We decided that one of us would ring the bell and the other would walk far away and then come back. We were excited and curious how it would sound with the insects. The moon was very bright so we could see the path pretty clearly. I am afraid of the dark so Krys was the walker and I stayed and rang the bell. If you really think about it though, the stationary person, standing in the bright moonlight ringing a very loud bell is the better target, but I just didn’t want to go wandering off down the road into the desert. So thank you, Krys.

I rang the bell for 20 minuets or so and at one point I thought about the spirits of the Native Americans who had inhabited this land. The giant Saguaros cacti are all around and I remembered someone telling me that they took 100 years to get that big. Each cactus was a man and each arm on the cactus was one of his wives. I hoped that I wasn’t disturbing anyone’s spirit especially since I was surrounded by 100’s of these cacti.

Eventually Krys appeared up the road as a dim shadow that I thought might be wishful thinking. But it was she and we unhitched the trailer and moved it to the side of the road, turned the car around on the narrow little road, hitched it back up and drove off to one more site.

The second site was much like the first. Same desert, beautiful and loud chorus of insects and similar bumpy, awful road. This time I managed to back up a bit so that we could just drive home when we were finished without having to dismantle and reassemble the whole rig before leaving.

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