Spring and Summer

11… A tale of two seasons, a tale of two spirits…

Late spring 1997, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico. Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

The end of Spring seems like the end of the year.

In the dog days of Spring smoke from burning farm fields on the coast and Navajoa is blown up into the foothills of Alamos. Warm heavy air holds down a layer of dust that covers anything that doesn’t move. It is what it is, life goes on as another yearly cycle completes its course.

Spring time in Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

And then the land comes alive with color and sounds of rejuvenation.

Everything glistens with a sheen of cleanliness. Spirit returns to the laugh and smile of the Alamos. Color explodes in what not long ago was the plainest of places. Behold a lush cornucopia of jungle greens accented with vibrant wildflower rainbows. Overhead, ever-changing skies take on moments of absolute magnificence. One is embraced by healthy glowing faces proud of their crops coming up around them. Lluvia! In the jubilant glory of rain’s fulfilled expectation, yes!, there’s more life to come. Lluvia!

Two seasons from Tecolote Hill

view of alamos, sonora, mexico to the east from tecolote hill, spring, 1995.  photo by anders tomlinson

It is mid-Spring, there is still a freshness to the air

The hills are turning a sullen brown. The gradual metamorphosis from vivacious green to parched brown sneaks up on the casual observer. It is seen best when looking at the hills. Many of the irrigated gardens in town stay green and colorful. But the hills…

view from Tecolete hill, Alamos, Sopnora, mexico. Photo by Anders Tomlinson

And here we are. It is always good to climb in the cool of the morning.

The air is aromatic – a taste of menthol. Birds are singing. The hills are alive with color.
There is water in mountain gullies. Growth is everywhere. It is summer. Lluvia!

End of Spring

Spring time, looking west from a dry distant hill at Alamos, Sonora, Mexico. Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

Its late Spring looking west at Alamos from the ranch’s high ground.

Where there is water there is green. This photo was taken on an Easter Sunday. Alamos, with Cacharamba behind it, is to the west.

late spring, looking west towards alamos, sonora, mexico.  easter sunday, 1996. photo by anders tomlinson

Where the desert meets the dry tropical forest.

When the summer rains come the dry arroyo could be at flood stage. On this easter Sunday one can only imagine rain. The dryness is everywhere.

alamos, sonora, mexico seen from red cross hill, piedra hola.  summer 1996.  photo by anders tomlinson

Summer 1996. The rains have come.

The hills are alive with the sound of music and color. Everything is overgrown. Where there were paths through the hills in the spring is now dense entanglement. One needs to be watching where they are go if they can go at all.

Two Spring Views from atop Sierra de Álamos

view of alamos, sonora, mexico from atop sireea de alamos in the spring. photo by anders tomlinson.

Gringo Point is to the upper right with Alamos below.

It is becoming warm despite the altitude. Álamos from here appears to nestled in the hills like an egg in a nest. It is a small colonial town surrounded by land that through history man has rarely touched. Here, the wilderness dominates and man exists.

view of the western edge of alamos, sonora, mexico seen fro atop sierra de alamos in the spring, 1995.  photo by anders tomlinson

El Camino Real takes the easy way northward.

Any season, hundreds of years ago, would be difficult to travel on the El Camino Real. But a road, like water, follows the path of least resistance. This view is towards the north-northwest. Over the horizon, hundreds of miles away, is the border and beyond, hundreds of miles, are Los Angeles and San Francisco. From here, at this moment, with morning tea over a small wilderness cooking fire, no bigger than a single flame, everywhere is far, far away.

Every year Summer Returns

View of alamos, sonora, mexico from the foot of mirador looking northwest in the summer.  photo by anders tomlinson.

Yes, it is summer time and the living is easy.

Summer returns every year as does a sunrise does every day. The question on many minds is will the rains return, and when? This scene is after an evening shower that had washed the streets clean and watered every garden.

And the mountains’ night skies explode

Summer is the Alamos season of vibrant color, rains and nights of natural magic and wonder.
Lightening on a warm Alamos summer evening is a show to remember. The romantic Plaza is a wonderful vantage point. Rolling thunder punctuates child’s play and lovers’ embraces.

To see more Summer videos

To see more Alamos Journal pages.

To return Home.

©2013 Anders Tomlinson, all rights reserved.

Rancho Las Crucecitas

You say Estancia Crysalis – I say Rancho Las Crucecitas…

walking home from town to Estancia Crysalis, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

This may not be a well-traveled road but it is a long-traveled path through time.

If one were to close their eyes and listen to the footsteps of this old woman, with a young woman’s body, one would hear someone going back in time, retracing footprints of the ancient ones as this old woman returns to Estancia Crysalis. Here is another world where the land speaks in a dominate voice. Listen carefully, and one will hear sounds that Indians heard before the arrival of the Spanish. Here, there is a purity of all things nature.

Looking east from the main house at Estancia Crysalis, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

And there is Chihuahua, and there are Sierra Madre foothills and there is...

It is a short, invigorating walk from Plaza de las Armas to Estancia Crysalis on paved road, the old El Camino Real. The slight incline, as you rise into rolling Sierra de Alamos foothills, stirs the minds and exercises the heart. The entrance to Estancia Crysalis is across the road from the El Mirador. The dirt road into Estancia Crysalis follows Arroyo Barranquita. Once on the ranch there is the Sierra Alamos, right there, in all her beauty, framed by 200 year old Mesquite trees.

Horse stalls at Estancia Crysalis, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

For the Arabians these were stalls for students these were shelter.

And so it was and so it is. Estancia Crysalis was formerly known as Rancho Las Crucecitas. The last owners of Rancho Las Crucecitas, Dr. Martin Dale Edwards and his wife Zora Tyler, raised a select herd of 22 purebred Arabians. These rustic stalls were the horses homes. Sharon Bernard is the current owner and changed the ranch name to Estancia Crysalis. A group of college students on a field trip from the USA stayed at Estancia Crysalis and used these stalls for lodging. And so it was and so it is.

A Ranch on the outskirts of town, looks forward to the future.
Estancia Crysalis, along the El Camino Real, is a mile southeast of the Plaza in Alamos, Sonora, Mexico. The 175 acre ranch, on Sierra de Alamos sloping foothills, is focusing on a new day, and listening for opportunities floating on tropical breezes. Video…

The above video is from summer. The following video is spring. Estancia Crysalis experiences the seasons in all their dramatic changes. Life in Centro Alamos is dominated by man’s structures and gardens. Life on Estancia Crysalis is dominated by nature.

In another era, Estancia Crysalis was a working horse ranch.
Today, the spirits of these departed steeds, proud Arabians, are present, be it a sound of a branch breaking under weight or a small flurry of dust. Shut your eyes and listen, they are still here. Video…

To see more Alamos Journal pages.

To return Home.

©2013 Anders Tomlinson, all rights reserved.

Maria Felix

23 … The view out this window has changed over the past century…

Old adobe ruin at Galeana 41, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

There was a day that this was the edge of town looking west towards wilderness.

1914 was in the middle of turbulent times for the region. Yaquis and Mayos were joining forces with Obregon and Villa’s armies. Venustiano Carranza became the third Mexican President in two years. One of them, Francisco Madero, was assassinated. Hard times were here. Maria de los Angeles Felix Guerrean was born April 8, 1914. This window looked out from her birth place. She had eleven sisters and brothers. They lived here until 1929 when they left for Guadalajara. Soon her beauty would be nationally recognized.

Galeana 41, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Gary Ruble.

An Alamos beauty walks down Calle Galeana in 1993. Photo by Gary Ruble.

This is where Maria Felix was born and raised, riding horseback in a land that was losing its mines. Her father was of Yaqui Indian blood and her Spanish blood mother was raised in a Pico Heights, California convent. Much of the beauty that is seen in the faces of Alamos is a product of interlocking bloodlines that span the globe. There are European, Asian, eastern Indian, Philippine and indigenous Indian features across town. Maria described herself as ” a woman with a man’s heart.” She was a commanding presence, a beautiful liberator, a woman beyond her times. She made 47 films in Mexico and France. She became internationally recognized. She published a bestselling autobiography in 1993, All My Wars. And this is where her life’s journey began..

Galeana 41, 1996, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

Step forward in time, it is now September 1996, late afternoon.

Hurricane Fausto was the storm that leveled the walls. The window is gone. Galeana #41 is now a mother of all ruins. A passing carriage takes tourists around town. Tomorrow would be another day. In 1999, Lynda Barondes bought Galeana #41. She was to learn later that this was the birthplace of Maria Felix. In 2002, part of Lynda’s restoration efforts, a Museum opened here with three rooms dedicated to the spirit Maria Felix embodied. The Museum closed in 2012 as Lynda sold the property and moved to the nearby southern foothills overlooking Alamos.

Buckle-up as we take a super fast-rock n’ roll car ride through Alamos on a grey winter day.
Driving Across Alamos on an overcast December day starts at La Puerta Roja Inn. We head east and circle the Plaza de Las Armas before heading to the Panteon – Cemetery. We head back to La Puerta Roja exploring different routes. The best way to travel is walking. Video…

To see more Alamos Journal pages.

To return Home.

©2013 Anders Tomlinson, all rights reserved.