Raised from Earth

Under the gaze of southern Arizona’s cinnamon-hued Canelo Hills, a mother shares ancient building traditions with her three sons. In Puebloan creation stories, adobe structures, like people, emerge from the earth and return to the earth. For Athena Steen, it’s the family memories, skills, knowledge, love, laughter — and the clay itself — that endure.

All clay, rock, and standing dead timber harvests in this film conducted in accordance with the rules of local jurisdictions.

Also, see: www.caneloproject.com/photos

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Shipwrecked

A friend gave me this sleek little surfing kayak; I was excited and suited up and went surfing.

So excited I didn’t think of attaching a leash (connecting me to kayak should I get dumped), forgot a life jacket, and was wearing a 15-year-old 4/5 mil wetsuit that was stiff from age.

You can see where this is going, right?

It was kinda rough in the channel, and I wasn’t in paddling shape, but I went out and got a small wave — and was impressed that the kayak surfed pretty well (which most kayaks don’t).

I was tired, thought I’d go in, but — maybe just one more wave. And got dumped.

The kayak headed shoreward and I was getting slowly swept out to sea in an outgoing current (heading towards a minus tide). Tried swimming while holding on to paddle, but was getting nowhere, so abandoned paddle. Tried swimming to shore but the suit was so stiff I could hardly raise my arms. PLUS the the way it floated me, I couldn’t get horizontal to swim. I couldn’t get closer to the beach. (Same beach where I was a lifeguard 60 years ago — ironic.

I didn’t panic, but was worried, even contemplative: what if I can’t get to shore? How long do I have? I mean, I’m a lifetime swimmer, surfer, swim instructor, lifeguard at Lake Tahoe, Santa Cruz, Stinson Beach, and this was the first time I couldn’t swim to where I wanted to go. Shit!

There were a couple of people on the beach. Guess I could wave arms and yell “Help!” but “…the shame of it all” (a la Lee Marvin in The Wild One. Kook!

Well lo and behold, here comes a surfer, towing my kayak out. I was too tired to climb aboard, so I grabbed the back of it and he started towing me to shore. Halfway there, a girl on a longboard paddled over, let me borrow it and I paddled on in.

The kindness of strangers.

My rescuer turned out to be Kater Murch, who I remember as a kid in town and who was now a physicist living in St. Louis and home for the holidays. (This was on the afternoon of Christmas eve.)

Beyond the call of duty.

You saved my ass, I said, and hugged him.

OK, OK, if I go kayaking again, I’ll use a leash, wear a lifejacket, and wear a new stretchy wetsuit.

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The Art of Polynesian Navigation

View of Maitavie Bay, Tahiti; painting by William Hodges (1776)

…Although the details of Tupaia’s knowledge may be lost to history, Pacific people continue to voyage in his wake. To mark the 250-year anniversary of Tupaia’s voyage, in 2019 Galenon and Teipoarii navigated the ship  by the moon and stars from Tahiti to Aotearoa. They are part of a Pacific-wide movement of modern wayfinders who hope to restore inter-island networks disrupted by colonization and to build regional unity around shared challenges like climate change.

Like Tupaia, they exchanged oral traditions with people they met along the voyage. ‘Our ancestors would navigate to maintain relationships,’ says Galenon. ‘The canoe was the link.’

Above painting is Tahiti.

knowablemagazine.org/article/society/2021/reading-pacific-navigators-mysterious-map

Also, Polynesian Navigation on Wiki: wikipedia.org/wiki/Polynesian_navigation

From Dan Dwyer

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Solo 94-Day Sailboat Journey to San Francisco from Japan in 1962

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In 1962, a small sailboat sailed under the Golden Gate Bridge. Aboard was Kenichi Horie, a 23-year-old Japanese adventurer, who had left Japan 94 days earlier and with nothing but the power of the wind, crossed the Pacific Ocean. He was at first arrested because he had no passport, but eventually was released and given a key to the city by the mayor.

This is his boat, at the Maritime Museum at Aquatic Park in San Francisco.

If you go there be sure to walk a few blocks to the much larger Maritime museum in The Cannery building at 900 Beach Street.

…Oh yeah, afterwards an Irish coffee at the Buena Vista Cafe (across the street from the cable car turnaround)…

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Travis Skinner’s Unique Anglerfish Sauna

Travis Skinner, whose 400-square-foot small home was featured in our book Small Homes (pp. 52–53), has written a book about his unique wood-fired sauna on wheels. The book is called AnglerFish Sauna: Material Based Design & Deep-Sea Sculpture, and is available at:

amazon.com/dp/1737637502

In his introduction, Travis says: “What inspired us to make a 17-foot model of a female Anglerfish that is a wood-fired sauna on wheels? These pages will lead you on a multimedia journey through the conceptual design, the process of construction, and meaning within the sculpture.”

The sauna is beautiful, exceptional, and I’ve never seen anything quite like it. It’s also built with meticulous craftsmanship.

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Fanjingshan Skytop Buddhist Temples in Southeastern China

China’s Guizhou province peering over at Mount Fanjing. Rising more than 100 meters above the surrounding landscape, visitors will need to climb almost 9,000 steps to reach the summit. Look closely at the image and you can see how the stairs wind up and around stone outcroppings and through a gorge.

The buildings you see perched at the top are two Buddhist temples — the Temple of the Buddha and the Temple of Maitreya — linked by a small footbridge.

Located in Tongren, Guizhou province, southeastern China, the highest peak of the Wuling Mountains, at 8,430 feet.

www.peapix.com/bing

More info: www.chinadiscovery.com/guizhou/fanjingshan/fanjingshan-temple.html

From Lew Lewandowski

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Shed Covered with Giant Slabs of Slate in Wales

Hi Lloyd.

I thought you might be interested in this small shed, alone in a field up the valley from my home in Southern Snowdonia, Wales. We’re in an area of old slate mining which began in the mid-19th century. and finished maybe 30-40 years ago. The slate slabs on this small outbuilding are between one and two inches thick.

Cheers, and all the very best to you from Corris, Wales.

–Neil Heath

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