Monday, October 04, 2010

Albuquerque and Fort Collins: Arts and Buddhas

Good morning.

This blog has been quiet for a couple of days because I have been away. It was a rare trip out of town, and quite productive.

Before dawn Friday morning, I pointed my beat up Honda Civic north to Albuquerque. Somebody appointed me to the New Mexico Advisory Council on Arts Education, which advises the state board of education on the arts (which is mandated as core curriculum by federal and state law) and also works with the New Mexico Arts Alliance, the latter being more of an advocacy group.

Our meeting took place at the National Hispanic Cultural Center and by lunch time I had filled my legal pad with useful notes rather than doodles. Arts educators have good reason to feel rather depressed these days, particularly in New Mexico with its projected budget shortfalls. Nonetheless, the 25 people present -- some from public schools, both teachers and administrators; some representing non-profit organizations that support the arts -- brainstormed and began refining positive ways to speak about the value and necessity of keeping the arts in school -- with lawmakers, our candidates for Governor, school officials, and especially parents.

At 3:30, I was back on the highway, north again.

In Fort Collins, there is a dharma brother of mine who ran a Zen Center for three years. With his family moving to another home and other things going on, he decided to close it up and donate much of its equipment to our group here in Deming. The cost of shipping this stuff would have been prohibitive, and some things you just don't ship. So it has waited for an opportunity for one of us to drive to the other.

After stopping to sleep in Trinidad, I reached Fort Collins at lunchtime Saturday. R.B. was playing golf. So I had time to stop and wander around the old town, including a long visit to a lovely book store that is attached to a tea house. R.B. appeared and we had a delicious lunch at this place (I highly recommend the veggie chili).

R.B.'s donation to the Zen Group was immense. We now have a wealth of mats and cushions -- some of which were part of a long-running, now defunct Zen Center in Littleton before going to Fort Collins. This stuff has history.

But more: there is now an iron temple bell (fashioned from an old acetyline tank) with a beautiful sound, chant books, kitchen supplies for overnight retreats, chanting books, altar supplies -- and then there is the new buddha.

In Korean-style temples, the buddha on the altar tends to be large and gold. R.B. presented us with a buddha that had been carried back to the States from Korea, with unblemished gold leaf work, face painting, and a rhinestone third eye.

This distinguished passenger rode in the front seat on the ride back, wearing its seat belt, of course.

Most of this trip consisted of driving. The view from the windshield offered the gorgeous terrain of northern New Mexico and southern Colorado, with amazing sunsets and thunderstorms. At the top of this blog entry, you see my best attempt to capture a picture of a double-rainbow that appeared in Mora County. This picture does not do the sight justice. The interior rainbow fell on a spot of ground where the clouds allowed the afternoon sun to shine through, creating the illusion of the rainbow hitting the earth and splashing gold sunshine.


Kelly said...

Congratulations on your appointment and on your productive time away.

Your rainbow photo might not be as beautiful as seeing it in real life, but it's still quite lovely.

Had to smile at the last photo, too. That would have made a trucker do a double take if they glanced down into your car while passing.

Ji Hyang said...

beautiful-- and well done!
I remember seeing that Buddha in Shutesbury...

quid said...

The buddha is beautiful and the shot with the seat belt is inspired.

There are very few images more breathtaking than the double rainbow. I can just see the second arc in yours.

Sounds like a productive trip, Algie.

Adam G said...

So, the big question I have is-- did someone meet the Buddha on the road, and was there a murder?

The answer of course is: to get to the other side. :o)

Great story about your stuff, and glad that you are back in blogging mode.