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Posts Tagged ‘Mill Valley’

 

Despite 2000 miles between here and there, similarities abound between the two places I call home.

Art on walls.  (Left) A massive new mural in Mill Valley, above the side wall of the Sequoia Theater, by Zio Ziegler.  (Right)  One of the many murals by Sanez (Fabián Calderón Sánchez) in Oaxaca.  By the way, I’ve previously posted murals by both artists:  click Sanez and/or Zio Ziegler.

Agave.  (Left) Of course in Mill Valley (California), it’s solely ornamental for those meticulously landscaped gardens.   (R) Whereas in Oaxaca, it’s vital crop — land without agave means life without mezcal!

Fluttering swags of flags.  (Left) Cloth Tibetan prayer flags flying outside the 142 Throckmorton Theatre in Mill Valley welcome patrons to the Mountainfilm festival.  (Right) Ubiquitous papel picado found inside and out in Oaxaca, in paper or plastic, for events special or just because.

Sacred mountains.  (Left) Mt. Tamalpais, the Sleeping Lady and mountain of my childhood dreams, teen driving lessons, and adult peace, joy, and renewal.  (Right) Cerro Picacho (in Zapoteco, Quie Guia Betz), brother/sister mountain — the sacred mountain in Teotitlán del Valle, where, among other times, villagers make a pilgrimage to the top on Día de la Santa Cruz (Day of the Holy Cross).

And, last but not least, colorfully costumed couples.  (Left) Soon after arriving at the Mill Valley Fall Arts Festival, I ran into this twosome.  Turns out, in the “it’s a small world” universe, they are actually friends of a couple I know in San Miguel de Allende.  (Right) During July’s Guelaguetza in Oaxaca, the delegation from Putla de Guerrero representing their celebration of Carnaval, is garish and gaudy and wild and wacky — in other words, fantastic!

Creativity is a challenge. It requires us to be fully human — autonomous yet engaged, independent yet interdependent. Creativity bridges the conflict between our individualistic and our sociality. It celebrates the commonality of our species while simultaneously setting us apart as unique individuals.  —Greg Graffin

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It’s been a great visit to Mill Valley, California, the town where I grew up and lived most of my life.   But, I’m ready to return to Oaxaca.  However, besides differences in latitude and attitude, there is much they have in common.

There are sculptures in public places (click on each to enlarge image)…

There are murals…

There are depictions of aquatic animals…

AND, there are signs reminding drivers to wait and take turns.  Remember my What’s easy??? post from last week?  Look what just went up in Mill Valley.  Discourteous drivers know no boundaries!

Rather than dwelling on the differences — which I did when I first began living this dual-country life — I now choose to appreciate the similarities.  Of course it doesn’t hurt that both places are situated in beautiful settings, fresh fruits and vegetables abound, have relatively mild climates, and an appreciation for the arts.

And so… I bid a fond “adiós” to Mill Valley and “hola” to Oaxaca.

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On another glorious day in Mill Valley…

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There’s a high flyin’ [blimp], flying way up in the sky,

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I wonder if she looks down as she goes on by?

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Apparently, her name is Despicable Me 2.  It’s all about the advertising and, grrr, I’ve fallen into their trap.

Only four more days, and I’ll be leaving on a jet plane, on my way back to Oaxaca!

(Apologies to Billy Edd Wheeler for borrowing a few lines from “High Flyin’ Bird” and to Richie Havens and his sublime version of it.)

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In Oaxaca, a molino is an indispensable business in every village.  Dried corn, cacao beans, chiles, herbs, spices, nuts, and seeds are brought to the molino to be ground so they can be turned into the staples found on Oaxaca’s tables — tamales, tortillas, tlayudas, tejate, mole, Oaxacan chocolate, and much mouth-watering more!  Below is a miller of corn in Tamazulápam del Espíritu Santo, in the Mixe region of Oaxaca.

Sign painted on side of building "Molino de Nixtamal"

In Mill Valley, Molino is a colorful place-name, a street and a park, that recalls California’s Spanish and Mexican past.

Wooden sign: "Welcome to Molino Park"

“Suburbia is where the developer bulldozes out the trees, then names the streets after them. ”  —Bill Vaughan

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I’m back in Oaxaca… arrived last night after a brief trip to El Norte.  However,  over the last three years, culture shock (on both sides of the border) has subsided and I am struck and heartened that despite our differences, humans share so much more… especially the compulsion to make even the most common and utilitarian, beautiful.

Artist, Zio Ziegler added a little pizzazz to a car in Mill Valley… (Yes, I know, a Porche!)

Porche painted decoration

Car in Oaxaca… (Ahhh, a VW bug!)

VW bug painted with decoration

Wall in Mill Valley (also by Zio Ziegler)…

Painted horned creature riding a bike.

Wall in Oaxaca…

Savannah scene, with elephant in foreground, painted on wall.

Veggies in Mill Valley…

Vegetables in bins at outdoor market

Veggies in Oaxaca…

Vegetables mounded in mercado

From one of my favorite journalists, Linda Ellerbee:  “People are pretty much alikeIt’s only that our differences are more susceptible to definition than our similarities.”

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Wanna see me pull a rabbit out of my hat?

Creature with long nose with rabbit in hat

Happy first day of summer.

Creatures painted on wall

From the walls of Oaxaca…

Creatures painted on wall

To the walls of Mill Valley…

Reclining bull painted on side of wall

by artist, Zio Zieler

Enjoy!!!

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Wall art from here…

Multicolor mountain lion wall art.

Wall of 142 Throckmorton theatre on Madrona,  Mill Valley, CA by Zio Ziegler

to there.

Wall of Espacio Zapata on Porfirio Díaz, Oaxaca de Juárez, OAX

And, sacred mountains from here…

Mt. Tamalpais

to there.

Green rocky top mountain against white cloud and blue sky

Transition time… Mill Valley back to Oaxaca.

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I’m back in Mill Valley for a month-long holiday visit; loving all the festivities and spending time with family and Bay Area friends. The weather, on the other hand, has been a different story; it’s been gray, rainy, and winter high tides have brought intermittent flooding. I’m definitely no longer acclimated to this damp cold!

However, last night the rain stopped, the clouds parted, and I had iTunes shuffling through hundreds of “moon music” tunes, as I gazed up at the night’s celestial show; a total eclipse of a full moon on the Winter Solstice. It was the first total lunar eclipse to occur on the Winter Solstice since 1638! All was quiet, save for the occasional car heading up Mt. Tamalpais, as La Luna did her disappearing act. She started out big and bright, halo glowing, she then began turning orange, slowly going into hiding, and finally she went missing, not even a sliver of light in sight.

It was especially mystical, amazing, and wonderful because, as the moon was reaching total eclipse, I could hear the unmistakable gravelly voice of Bob Dylan, introducing the song, Mr. Moon ( I have lots of Theme Time Radio Hour music) by a band, in Dylan’s words, “you never heard of them probably, but should have.” The band, Clover, was composed of local guys I went to school (grammar and high school) with here in Mill Valley and… just as Alex Call (writer of 867-5309/Jenny) hit and held the final note, in his falsetto voice, the moon completely disappeared. A perfect moment!

Happy Winter Solstice to all!

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