In the wind

IMG_2872.JPGHappy Hispanic Heritage Month from here in Fayetteville. The city’s Chamber of Commerce marked the occasion with a two-parter festival. The first part yesterday brought sunshine and Argentinian dance. The second part today was cut off by blustery winds and a strong afternoon downpour, but not before its parade had a chance to circle Fayetteville’s square.

IMG_2890.JPG

IMG_2912.JPG

IMG_2924.JPGThe event was officially apolitical, but celebrating Hispanic heritage almost seems like a political statement in itself these days, given the intense focus on immigration and policy and our president. I wrote up an article for today’s paper about how deferred action for childhood arrivals, the Obama-era protection from deportation given to hundreds of thousands young immigrants, stands a decent chance of becoming a law in Congress now. We’ll see what comes of it.

IMG_2943.JPGA programming note — this blog now has a companion Facebook page. You can get to it by clicking here. Give it a like, if you like, and you’ll find some of the classics from this blog’s annals, a first look at some shots before they’re blogged, and an easy link to prints and cards, if any of these images ever strike your fancy. Only 99 days until Christmas and all that.

Thanks, as always, for looking.

Dan

Advertisements

One day, two cities

_C1_9596.JPGNorthwest Arkansas on Saturday hosted two very different displays of pride in identity and in community.

The bigger and flashier of the two, as you might’ve guessed, was the annual pride parade in Fayetteville, a rowdy celebration of the diversity of human sexuality and gender identity. You can always count on this march to be overloaded with cheers and hugs, and this year seemed particularly extravagant.

_C1_9599.JPG

_C1_9672.JPG

_C1_9661.JPG

_C1_9653.JPG

_C1_9658.JPG

_C1_9721.JPG

_C1_9734.JPGMy favorite part of the occasion was probably when the column of participants and onlookers marched to the Fayetteville square at the end and flooded the simultaneous farmers market, taking some couples dancing to live music by surprise.

_C1_9794.JPG

_C1_9797.JPGAnother party was getting started around the same time on the other end of northwest Arkansas. Sulphur Springs, a town of a few hundred people just south of the Missouri border, celebrated Independence Day a week and a half early.

I wrote about Sulphur Springs back in April and how it has shrunk while the rest of the region explodes. The locals blame small-town politics and drug problems in recent years and an unlucky location for the loss, but they’re also trying to breathe new life into the place, and recent Census numbers show it might be working. This weekend was the fourth annual Sulphur Day, an all-day festival that brings in several hundred people for a parade and fireworks in the park that dominates the town’s center. I’d been looking forward to going since I first heard about it.

_C1_9809.JPG

_C1_9815.JPG

_C1_9833.JPG

_C1_9856.JPG

_C1_9854.JPG

_C1_9990.JPG

_C1_0043.JPG

_C1_0122.JPGNow, Pride and Sulphur Days clearly have a lot of space between them in more ways than one. The crowds at each probably didn’t overlap much. When I told one Sulphur Springs resident about Fayetteville’s parade, she said simply, “Well, it is what it is.” The distance shows some of itself in, among other things, a presidential administration that’s taken a very different approach gay and transgender issues than the last one.

The distance is complicated and serious, more so than I can adequately address here. But I hope it isn’t for nothing that the two cities are in the same metro in the same state in the same country, and they both found some reasons to be proud of it. I’m more of a city guy myself, but it was a lovely evening in Sulphur Springs with some nice people, alligator tacos and thousands of lightning bugs.

Thanks for looking,

Dan

Going to Washington

washington,-d.c-170.jpgYou might’ve heard Washington, D.C., was a bit of a circus this past week. A former director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation gave blockbuster testimony to Congress about the commander-in-chief that seems like it could be historic no matter what happens next. People across the country met the situation’s gravity by crowding into bars and holding watching parties at home and work.

The mix of solemnity and cheerfulness suits D.C., I think. Every tourist destination there has a line as long as a theme park ride’s – some places require reservations months in advance – and school field trips and flocks of Segway riders crisscross the National Mall. Meanwhile, some of the people and events that define the country are preserved and memorialized in glass cases and an incredible amount of marble.

The Smithsonian’s Museum of Natural History and National Gallery of Art house pieces of the world’s most incredible beauty, while the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum houses some of its horror, such as in the quiet devastation of a room filled with victims’ shoes in every size. National museums of the American Indian and African American history and culture display beauty and horror alike. Across the Potomac from the original oversized pages of the U.S. Constitution lie hundreds of thousands of service members at Arlington National Cemetery.

It’s nothing if not a town of juxtaposition, and there is plenty to see.

washington,-d.c-056.jpg

washington,-d.c-206.jpg

Washington,-DC-part-2-067.jpg

washington,-d.jpg

washington,-d.c-104.jpg

washington,-d.c-382.jpg

washington,-d.c-123.jpg

washington,-d.c-113.jpg

washington,-d.c-067.jpg

Washington,-DC-part-2-136.jpg

Washington,-DC-part-2-131.jpg

Washington,-DC-part-2-140.jpg

Washington,-DC-part-2-123.jpg

washington,-d.c-229.jpgThis is one of those lines I mentioned, one that stood in the early morning to get a ticket up to the top of the Washington Monument. The break in its color comes from a 20-year pause in construction during the Civil War and other national problems. I guess that’s a good enough excuse.

washington,-d.c-230.jpg

washington,-d.c-288.jpg

Washington,-DC-part-2-108.jpg

Washington,-DC-part-2-112.jpg

washington,-d.c-326.jpg

Washington,-DC-part-2-058.jpg

I’ve had the chance to go the capital twice, first in high school in 2008 with my dad and cousin, again in college in 2010 with the rest of an honors class. I’d have a more complete set with better shots for you all if I returned to D.C. now, I hope. But it seemed a good time to see snippets of a place that determines so much of what we remember and of what we do in health care, climate policy and more.

Thanks for looking, and keep watching.

Dan

washington,-d.c-214.jpg