Saturday, July 01, 2006

Scattered Thoughts and Thunder Showers

What's wrong with this picture?

This little boy, in front of the National Hispanic Cultural Center of New Mexico, covers his head as he unsuccessfully tries to protect himself from what looks like a famous New Mexico six-inch rain; a rain drop every six-inches.

The activity Thursday evening was a demonstration and performance of healing sessions by curanderas and other traditional healers.

The rains came! It was the same cloudburst that hit the airport and the National Weather Services’ official rain gauge, which recorded 0.74 inches in less than an hour and a half. That more than doubled the amount of rain to date this year.

The center is a beautiful, relatively new facility, dedicated to education, preservation, research and showcase of traditional and contemporary forms of cultural arts, crafts, music, humanities and other interpretive aspects of social life.

It has an impressive list of supporters whose names are attached to their funded projects. They range from; the Intel Center for Technology and Visual Arts, to the Roy E. Disney Center for Performing Arts, to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation gallery, to the Albuquerque Journal theater and the Pete V. Domenici Education Building. Other major contributors include Sandia/Lockeed.

The facility is now slightly troubled. It has had six executive directors in its six-year history. The director of the visual arts program was recently forced to leave. Now it seems that three quarters of the visual presentation staff has left.

Part time contractors have filled the void and new permanent staff will be hired this month.

There are little indications of problems. This is part of the row of national flags honoring countries in front of the center just south of downtown Albuquerque.

Note the flags in clockwise order from the top; Paraguay, Peru, Philippines Portugal, Argentina and Venezuela. Besides already being tattered, in the first gust before the rain, they indicate a loss of direction.

Look at the green and red Portuguese flag which has a heraldic shield in the center surrounded by gold straps and ring. It has been metaphorically described to represent a compass rose in honor of their adventurous seafaring tradition.

So what's wrong with the picture? The flag is upside down.

Despite the rain, a troupe of Aztec dancers danced and the healers healed through it all.

Though a bit tattered and temporarily losing its direction, like the cleansing rain and the healing, I am sure the center will also just dance through it all. A new set of flags should help make it all better.

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