Pops, my maternal grandfather emigrated from Banff, Scotland shortly after WWI to America with his family. He had lost two brothers in France during the war, and he, himself, had volunteered at fourteen years old. After a stay in Canada and then Detroit, he ended up in Cleveland, Ohio. His brothers and sisters stayed in Detroit and his mother in Canada. I often heard him tell stories of his North Sea town where all his people were fishermen. This summer I visited Banff and found his home, and that of my great great grandfather, in nearby Portknockie. So today, as the polls are closing in Scotland on the historic vote for their independence, I salute my ancestors, the Cormacks, who fought in the wars and fished the seas, who left their homeland to find a better life in America.
Spring’s pilgrimage to Cactus League baseball denies all the injustices of boys playing a field game for millions of dollars while charging adoring fans $9 for a cup of beer. Despite the inequity, we continue to trek to sun spotted parks with pristine outfields, manicured tracks and a slow game of strategy and skill, athleticism and even danger. We witnessed All-Star Cinci Reds pitcher Aroldis Chapman getting hit by a line drive after throwing a 99 mph speedball against the Kansas City Royals catcher, Salvador Perez . Chapman will be out for two months. The game was called. Royals won. We saw the Indians win a slug fest against the SF Giants and then the Royals lose to the Angels. Check out your local AAA ball and the college circuit. The stadiums are small, the game is good and the beer is cheaper.
Dominica calls itself the Nature Island. And so it should. There are miles of hiking trails, national parks to preserve the luscious waterfalls and rivers, the pristine rain forests and rushing rivers.
Because of the elevations, rain comes and goes with frequency. Dominica is unique among the islands. It has recognized its natural heritage and now celebrates it. If you go there, I recommend taking the local transport which originates at various places. You’ll have to find it via the locals. It’s reliable, economical and somewhat energizing as the road are hair-raising up and down hair pin turns on cliffs to the sea. I’ll admit, Dominica is not a typical beach island, but it is well worth the visit.
It’s the little Caribbean island you’ve never heard of because Dominica is relatively untouched by tourism. At 250 square miles, with elevations that reach 4700 feet, it is a tropic rainforest with 300 rivers, crystal clear pools, snorkeling, winding roads along the coastline with breathtaking views and a national hiking trail that spans the island. Unique and friendly (English is the national language) it’s easy to navigate via local vans (once you get the hang of it). It’s not famous for beaches, there are no large hotels. Rum punch is potent. That said, the ubiquitous touring cities stop at the port of Roseau, the capital, and off-load folks who bolster the local economy. They are gone by 4pm. More in the next post about the Nature Island, as they called themselves, but for now, colors accent an already gorgeous palate.
Tucked away about 20 miles north of Tularosa on New Mexico Highway 54, the Three Rivers Petroglyphs site, managed by the Bureau of Land Management provide a glimpse into the Jornada Mogollon culture that lived in thatched, semi submerged earth dwellings from approximately 400 AD to 1200 AD when so many thriving cultures seemed to have disappeared…Chaco, Mesa Verde, Hovenweep and many others. Left behind are the rock tablets that depict a common humanity. Animals, symbols, handprints and iconic faces can be seen easily on a trail and it’s only a fraction of the 20,000 some thousand that have been identified.