Sunday, May 31, 2009


We have come to see the ruins of a Hohokam dwelling. Here in the middle of the desert, people once farmed, digging irrigation ditches by hand and planting, of all things, cotton. I had no idea that cotton existed in the New World prior to the Virginia plantations, but here it was in prehistoric Arizona, before even the time of the Pueblo cliff dwellers or the Sinagua. Pima cotton, some of the softest cotton in the world, is reportedly a mix of this native cotton and Egyptian.
The Casa Grande is the largest structure of these ruins, several stories high, built of fragile adobe, sheltered from the weather by a tall, Asian-looking roof. The rest of the village, for it was quite a sizeable village, has been worn down to low walls and entries, impossible to tell how tall they once were. Because the light on the casa grande is all light or all shadow from the remada that is keeping the sun off me, I have chosen to paint some of the side buildings, with their curiously curved, weathered walls. Note the saguaro in the background. This is the first time I've ever seen saguaro.

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