Saturday, August 1, 2015

Open Space Visitor Center

The Open Space Visitor's Center
is one of those places that I have driven by many times,
but have never visited.

I took Ella to their property on April 6, 2015
in search of water for the ADAD prompt of the day.
I was happy to have found their perennial marsh near the parking lot.
However, it was both the afternoon of a work day, and a Monday,
which happens to be the day they are closed, so I did not get further
than the marsh.

Between the normal growth of summer and the extra rain we have gotten
this summer, the vegetation in the marsh had grown so much
that we could not even see the water under the plants!

As we continued to wander around the front of the property,
we found an adobe wall with a New Mexican style door on it.

It led to a trail near the highway that people can use
for walking, jogging, biking, etc.

We entered the front gate for the Visitor Center,
walked along an outside hall, and found the entrance door.

They had an area that was a bit like a small museum
focusing on the main cultural and natural highlights of the area.
The first room had to do with the west side
where the petroglyphs are located.

Written plaques on the wall summarized the history
of the Pueblo people through the early Spaniards.

 Ella liked their reproduced example of the carved rocks
found at the nearby petrogylphs. She smiled and proudly announced
that we had been there this summer!

They had a few more small rooms educating people
about the other areas in Albuquerque.

Both Ella and I liked how there were images on the walls
and Pueblo style ladders with information on them.

They had many places to sit inside and outside
to enjoy the view of the open space area.
The trees behind the field is the bosque;
the forest along the Rio Grande.

We exited out the back door toward the field and garden area.

We then turned and went out to an overlooking ramp.

Ella loved the apple trees!

I stopped and talked to people as we wandered around.
I chatted with the employees at the front counter and at the gift shop.
Then, we walked outside in the garden near the front.

Ella enjoyed posing on adobe walls.

We finally decided that we had explored everything
and it was time to leave.

But not so quick!!!
I pulled my car over to a curb on the road that enters the Visitor Center.

There is this art installation that has been on the side of the highway
since 2011. I have wanted to photograph it, but....
it is on the side of the highway!!!

At first, this posed a quandary as I drove past it.
What is this thing? Why is it here?

There is plaque on a rock near this structure.
This art piece is called "Flyaway" by Robert Wilson.
It was dedicated on August 25, 2011.
It was built as a tribute to the Sand Hill Crane migration.

When I talked to the woman working at the front desk,
she invited me to come back in a month or two as the Sand Hill Cranes
would pause at the open space area near the Visitor Center.

The plaque continues to describe this art piece as embodying the traits of the birds;
with the form of a wing, the shape of feathers, the elegance of their angles
and the world of the sky, land, mountains and the Rio Grande.

ADAD Bright

"Flyaway" was constructed with the steel beams of recycled
jetty jacks. The jetty jacks were installed along the banks of the Rio Grande
to help stabilize the river banks in the 1950's.

Although many of the jetty jacks have been removed,
there are still many jetty jacks in the bosque along the Rio Grande.

Both the creative use of the jetty jacks and the view of the
Sandia Mountain in the back against the blue sky make this
an interesting and noteworthy piece of art.

Looking at my photos of "Flyaway" has brought out some really
interesting aspects of this art piece that I had not noticed driving past it
at 45 miles per hour watching the road to drive safely.

It arches in rows like a rainbow with each row perfectly lined up.
However, when I see it in different perspectives,
it is hard to tell that it is in straight rows with pieces leaning
as other poles in the same column.

It did take some extra courage and boldness to photograph this,
but I am glad that I both discovered the Open Space Visitor Center
and stopped to photograph "Flyaway".

As I get ready to start the new school year,
I'll remember our adventures and outings in Florida 

and around New Mexico this summer,

and I'll hold onto the things worth looking forward to in fall,
like roasting chiles, pumpkins, and the migration of the Sand Hill Cranes.

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