Aug 23, 2005

Turquoise

The too gaudy color of the jewelry in the Southwest where the Indians would sell it on the side of the road, between the town of Two Guns and the town Two Arrows. In their fake costumes and fake teepees, where the women were all "Squaws" and all the men were "Tontos," the pieces spread around as a tourist attraction, bracelets and earrings and necklaces, in a brilliant mottled turquoise.

Like the turquoise of the towers, the steepled domes of copper colored that variegated green, topped by crosses and shimmering in the morning while I sat there alone. Perhaps for the first time totally alone and sitting on the grass of the closed-up bus station in a closed down town scared and shaky and waiting, watching those domes.

Those domes like the domes of the Spanish church we saw from a few blocks out and I said I had to see. The church was old adobe, painted white, and I stood at the door and looked in to the priest proclaiming the mystery of faith. A dozen men squatted on the steps waiting for it to be over, sitting outside as Catholics who went to church every week but never went in. Across the street an ice cream truck was playing music.

She would say those domes had always reminded her of pond scum, algae growing slowly ugly and stagnant in the sun. For me, they’d always remind me of a turquoise sea, of St. Mary of the Sea, and of the American desert.