The view from Sentinel Peak

Having grown up with a very large white B* hovering in the foothills above my hometown, I’m always a fan of discovering letters in the landscape.  There’s a big “A” visible from the freeway in Tuscon.  Dad drove me up to take a look.

Here’s the story.  My favorite part is that the Parks & Rec department now maintains it.  Those college kids aren’t so reliable.

Desert and town

More desert and town

Even more desert and town. 

There were some shading structures with informational signage.  One of them also came with a couple making out, while sitting on top of the informational sign.  Between that couple and the other teenagers getting high back in the parking lot, I think I can say that Tuscon’s Sentinel Peak is not unlike Boise’s Table Rock.

Anyway, rock on top of the shading structure.  I can see how that would be a thing.

The view from the freeway.

*For residents of Boise, that link up there is worth a read.  It’s funny!  I also learned that you can no longer drive all the way to the top of Table Rock.  Fie on that!

Mission San Xavier

Look at the sky!  Blue!  Arizona in March is wonderful!

This is the church that Frank Lloyd Wright dubbed the White Dove of the Desert.  We toured!

Here’s the rocky thing next to the church with the cross on top.  I know it has a name, I just can’t get the internet to cough it up right now.

Details of the sculptures on the front.  

The mission was founded by Jesuit missionary Father Kino (who you might remember being mentioned in this post).  It was the northern-most mission he established.   Father Kino gets good press, so I thought I would include this link as an alternate perspective.

In 1767 the Jesuits were expelled from “New Spain” and the mission was abandoned.  The Franciscans came to fill the void and began construction of the church that we see today.

The four flags that have flown over the mission.  Spain, Mexico, the United States and the Tohono O’odham Nation.  The mission is a working parish for the Tohono O’odham people.

I loved this detail.

I also loved this photo, of tourists standing by the explanation of the Man in the Maze.

The Man in the Maze is part of Tohono O’odham culture.  The man is born, which is where he is at the top of the maze. He travels through the maze (life) encountering many turns and changes.  On the way he acquires knowledge, strength and understanding. Near the end he retreats to a small corner and then reaches the dark center of death and eternal life.

Work was happening on the tower.  The Patronato San Xavier is a group that has been working since 1978 to preserve the church.  They are also the group that gives the tours.

And here’s my own self with the Man in the Maze.

Detail of ceiling.

Detail on wall.

More front-of-church

Here’s a little mouse.  There is a cat located on the other side.  Legend says that if the cat catches the mouse, the tower will fall.

Not a detail of the church, but I was flummoxed by this “est. 1959” business.  Hawaii was around long before that.

Interior!  Nearly everything was painted, rather than tiled, due to lack of funds.

For symmetrical purposes this door was painted.  Also the repeating box motif would  have been tile in a more prosperous church.
The mission is a pilgrimage site.  People can pray to Saint Francis for intersession.

Painted mural.  Note the painted frame.

The last supper scene had a creepy little devil’s head in the corner

History of the mission that takes into account the differing cultures. 

A nice illustration of the Piman groups annual cycle.

A map of the Father Kino missions.

Milagros left with Saint Francis, as well as other items.

What’s left of the termite-eaten Jesus who used to be on the wooden cross in the church.

An illustration of the Man in the Maze creeping into standard Catholic items.

Courtyard.  It was a parking lot at one time.

This sign cracks me up.  I’m the person who would read it and ask, “Which way is East?”

Candles stacked and ready for selling.

Across the way was an area of shops.  I loved this advertisement.Overall, a really great tour.  I was surprised to learn it was our tour guide’s first tour.

A visit to the White Elephant Thrift Store

Barb volunteers at the White Elephant Shop in Green Valley.  Being a fan of thrift shops, I was excited to check it out.

The store is open Monday-Saturday from 9:00am to Noon.  We got there before 9:00, because they run out of parking spaces, and stood in line.

“Some old lady could have died in that sweater.”  So said one of my classmates to another classmate wearing a sweater bought at a thrift shop.  This was in the late 80s, when not so many people were thrifting, at least not in my social strata.  We’d really start hitting the thrift stores once I got to high school.  They had tons of stuff, and I was pretty sure that the odds of someone dying in a particular item of clothing was pretty slim.

Visiting a thrift store in a town that is mostly comprised of retirement communities is a slightly more depressing trip.  I felt like all of the stuff present had been dragged from different points all over the US, and then been donated to the thrift store when people died.  And I also have a lot of stuff that will have to go somewhere when I die. This feeling probably contributed to me buying clothing, and not stuff.  But here are a few things I found.

Look at this great 45 record!

Which someone originally got for free with a carton of Fresca!  So cool!

There were a lot of various hobby supplies and results on display.  Which tapped into the feeling that all the time I spend creating thing results in items with little inherent value and only serves to pass the time until my inevitable end.  Here, for example, is David’s effort at wood sculpture.  Someone priced it very high at $5.00, and I would be surprised if it sold for its reduced price.  Good effort, David.  Hopefully you got better at your craft.  But I suspect you died.

Clothing, however, worked really well for me.  I got four shirts and a dress for at total of $11.00  For that, I love the White Elephant Shop!

(And yes, some lady might have died wearing them.  But I washed them, so we’re good.)