Sightseeing & Scenery

Sightseeing & Scenery

Mapping the High Road to Taos

High Road to Taos, by Christopher DougheryHand drawn maps are in my personal top ten list of travel artifacts. Maybe my top five.

I was recently introduced to The Hand Drawn Map Association — a cartographic marginalia paradise — by friend and former colleague Chris Casquilho.

The Hand Drawn Map Association (HDMA) is an ongoing archive of user submitted maps and other interesting diagrams created by hand.

Casquilho also put me on to an interesting sounding book, Everything Sings: Maps for a Narrative Atlas, by Denis Wood.

Denis Wood has created an atlas unlike any other. Surveying Boylan Heights, his small neighborhood in North Carolina, he subverts the traditional notions of mapmaking to discover new ways of seeing both this place in particular and the nature of place itself. Each map attunes the eye to the invisible, the overlooked, and the seemingly insignificant. From radio waves permeating the air to the location of Halloween pumpkins on porches, Wood searches for the revelatory details in what has never been mapped or may not even be mappable. In his pursuit of a "poetics of cartography," the experience of place is primary, useless knowledge is exalted, and representation strives toward resonance. Our perception of maps and how to read them changes as we regard their beauty, marvel at their poetry, and begin to see the neighborhoods we live in anew. Everything Sings weaves a multi-layered story about one neighborhood as well as about the endeavor of truly knowing the places which we call home. (Siglio Press)

Thank you, Chris Casquilho. Thank you, Hand Drawn Map Association.Thank you, Denis Wood. I'm slipping and sliding down the poetics of cartography rabbit hole!

And what better example of this creative world of hand drawn maps to represent my newest crush than Christopher Doughery "High Road to Taos". I know the destinations well and the route even better. I'm forever introducing friends and strangers to this high desert wander and some of the joys along the way like Madrid (where I brought our friend in December) and Tesuque (where my bride dreams of building a home) and Chimayo (a norther NM town as complex and troubled as it is miniscule and glorious).

So thank you also, Christopher Doughery.

During a summer trip through northern New Mexico, I wanted to chart our daily progress up from Albuquerque through the High Road to Taos, west to Los Alamos and finally north and west of Taos. I wanted to increase the scale of the High Road leg so I could note features of the small villages (graffiti in Cordova, the Ortega family-weaving since 1729 in Chimayo, San Jose de Gracia Church in Trampas, and Sugar Nymph's Cafe in Picoris). These villages are amazingly beautiful and heartbreaking at the same time. Not having the time to measure exact distances, I used the yellow box to signal changing scales. ~ Christopher Doughery (Hand Drawn Map Association)

A hand drawn map of a favorite land complete with marginalia. Win. Win. Win.

There's one more person I'd like to thank. Ira Glass. For so many things, I'm grateful to this All American Storyteller with a weird voice and an even weirder cadence. Glass wrote the introduction to Wood's Everything Sings: Maps for a Narrative Atlas. )Yes, I've looped back to Denis Wood again. You lost? Need a map?) The following is an excerpt, much abridged, of some of Glass's distilled observations. Sorry, Ira, for the butchery. Reader, consider this a mashup, a remix, a derivative that may not accurately represent what Glass actually meant to say. It represents what I "hear", and inevitably we hear what we want to hear...

When I encountered these maps of Boylan Heights years ago, what I first loved was how impractical they were... These maps are completely unnecessary. The world didn't ask for them. They aid no navigation or civic-minded purpose. They're just for pleasure. They laugh at the stupid Google map I consult five times a day on my phone. They laugh at what a square that map is. At its small-mindedness... Their mission is more novelistic... What they chart isn't Boylan Heights exactly but Wood's feelings about Boylan Heights, his curiosity about it, and his sense of wonder at all the things about the place that are overlooked and unnamed... [They] elbow their way into the world in defiance... to take a form that's not intended for feeling or mystery and make it breathe with human life. ~ Ira Glass (Introduction to Everything Sings: Maps for a Narrative Atlas)

Yes, hand drawn maps are definitely in my top five list of travel artifacts. What about you?

Mount Stephen Club No More?

George Stephen House - Mount Stephen Club

Image via Wikipedia

Did you solve the Montreal Mystery in my last blog post? Did you guess which Montreal mansion was the location for our decadent brunch?

Plaudits to Steph Sirois (@StefS31) and Linda Coffin who answered correctly that the mysterious Montreal mansion in the video is Mount Stephen Club! Both Steph and Linda have personal connections to the property, one from college reasearch and the other from growing up two blocks away... Bravo, Montrealophiles! (Shoot me your mailing addresses, and a prize will help you celebrate your smarts.)

The Mount Stephen Club occupies the late 19th century mansion of George Stephen, the co-founder of Canadian Pacific Railway. This extravagant home in Montreal's Golden Square Mile was architecturally inspired Italian Renaissance palaces. The interior is extravagantly finished in detailed Cuban mahogany, English walnut and exotic woods and boasts many marble mantles, stained glass glass windows, and grand staircase fit for royalty.

TrekEast: March in Florida, Alabama and Beyond

Essex, New York resident resident and close friend John Davis is in month two of his 10-month, 4,500+ mile adventure. Are you following along? Thousands are, and I suspect that if you even dip into the story stream he's creating along this epic journey for wilderness, you'll become addicted! TrekEast is a 100% human-powered effort to discover and share the narrative of the eastern United States wilderness habitats. Please join the adventure.

Costa Rica Countdown: 3, 2, 1...

It's time for a mid-winter escape from the Adirondacks. And what better destination than Costa Rica? For the second year in a row my wife and I are venturing to the jewel of Central America with in-laws for ten incredibdle days at the Four Seasons Peninsula Papagayo. After that we join our friends Amy and Brian who winter in Tamarindo, but unlike last year when we fired straight off to Nosara, this year we're headed inland to Lake Arenal. Volcano. Hot springs. Windsurfing. Then down to Tamarindo for some surf, surf, surfing!

Deliberately aimless

Waterloo to Thames (59)

There is no English equivalent for the French word flâneur. Cassell's dictionary defines flâneur as a stroller, saunterer, drifter but none of these terms seems quite accurate. There is no English equivalent for the term, just as there is no Anglo-Saxon counterpart of that essentially Gallic individual, the deliberately aimless pedestrian, unencumbered by any obligation or sense of urgency,

Clever Pup cum Paris Flaneur

Galeries Lafayette Dome, by Hazel Smith (aka The Clever Pup)
Just like dominoes... I saw a boy, 9 or 10,  trip into a display of mannequins at Galeries Lafayette and bang, bang bang, bang, bang - all five plaster ladies toppled onto the floor; their arms and legs falling off in the process. The poor kid. In passing I whispered, "C'est OK", but he started to cry despite his age. He told his mum he was hurt, but it was just his pride. The day before, my minibus driver told me that the word "gendarmes" meant "people with arms". Now these mannequins were "gens pas d'armes"... (The Clever Pup)

Turkey Flanerie

A Flâneur's Tour of Toronto

"A flâneur is anyone who wanders, and watches, the city. The 19th-century French poet Charles Baudelaire called the flâneur a “perfect idler” and a “passionate observer.” Baudelaire was a flâneur himself and, when he wasn’t writing poems and spending his trust fund on dandy outfits and opium, he drifted through the streets of Paris.
Syndicate content