Sunday, April 5, 2009
The Outer Reaches of New Mexico...and Outer Space
My brother John and his family finished the Santa Fe New Music production of The Language of Birds, to standing ovations (here is a pre-show report from the Santa Fe Reporter's John Stege). Then they traveled to one of the more remote parts of New Mexico, near Datil, on the edge of the Cibola National Forest, near the Very Large Array.
Before I looked that up, I was imagining a very large array of rock formations: instead, this is a radio astronomy observatory that studies radio galaxies, hydrogen gas, quasars, pulsars, supernova remnants, gamma ray bursts, radio-emitting stars, the sun and planets, astrophysical masers, and black holes. Oh.
Our friends Cheryl Walsh Bellville and Don Hastings are building a house there. Cheryl is a photographer with a studio in nearby Magdalena. For years they've lived in western Wisconsin, where Don still maintains a business hauling hay and Cheryl documents life in the midwest and beyond (from a studio in St. Paul), often creating remarkable photographic children's books.
Cheryl just send me these wonderful photos of my family. She says "Your dad is looking through binoculars at the small mountain that rises behind our house. John and his girls have climbed to the top. They'd just walked out of range when I took this picture."