History Medallions

36- A walk through modern history at Escuela Paulito Verjan …

History walk at Escuela Paulito Verjan, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

The air is sweet with blossoms, night birds call, and ghosts walk.

The streets are empty. I will see no else on this walk from Calle Comercio to the Middle School and back. But I am not alone. I am with everyone that have walked this very night walk through the years. My shoes fall in their footprints. There is rustling in flowering vines.

History walk Escuela Paulito Verjan, Alamos, Sonora, mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

Shadows are small as the sun nears its zenith. Medallions speak of other zeniths.

How many times as this man took this path to Alamos Centro? How many times has he stopped to read a history medallion? How many times has he appreciated where he is? How many times has he felt grateful this is where his family is? Some of his grand children, at this momen,t may be behind the school’s portales studying.

1684 history medallion, Escuela Paulito Verjan, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

Alamos is now an official city as Spanish colonization continues north and west.

1684, sixteen-eighty-four, and Alamos is part of the new frontier. Thinking back makes me wonder about the future. 2084, twenty- eighty-four, and what will one see standing in this very spot? And, 2184, twentyone-eighty-four? and… Whoa! Time to take a couple of deep breathes and enjoy being in the present.

first printing press in sonora, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  photo by Anders Tomlinson.

Civilizations mature and expand with the introduction of printing presses.

History is the record of events occurring and needs being fulfilled. It is easy to ask what came first. The answer, or better yet answers, are part of a grand multiple causation continuum and are not that easy to formulate. But we try, that is part of being human.

history medallion for first publication in Sonora, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

Being the first in Sonora meant being the first in the Californias.

This is another milestone in the development of Sonora and all of western settlement. Here, it is easy to answer what came first. First, there was a printing press and then there was a publication. It is the human way. Alamos, Sonora, Mexico has a long and literate history.

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©2013 Anders Tomlinson, all rights reserved.

Alamos Daily Journal

101… On Mirador for the kite flying contest.

Kite festival in Alamos, Sonora, Mexico. Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

Kite flying is a popular past times for the children of Alamos.

The winds of Alamos more come than go and when they are blowing kite flying takes place across the barrios. Sticks, paper, string are a child’s opportunity to take flight and be one with the elements. The child in all of us enjoys watching children enthralled with their kites dancing on a breeze.

Participants in the kite flying contest parade through the town on their way to and from El Mirador, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

Many of the festival's colorful kites parade proudly through Alamos.

On the day of the festival kites, and their builders-owners, are seen on their way to and returning from El Mirador. Colorful pennants snapping in the winds on El Mirador announce to the people below that today celebrates a special event.

Kite flying participants atop El Mirador, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

This is the place to be: a windy day on top of the world with friends.

The kite flying contest was started by Cammie Nuzum and her then husband Chaco Valdez. These photos are from the 1996 festival. The recent 2012 contest was sponsored by Cammie and Elizabeth Nuzum. Kites were not always a place for children’s imaginations to soar. One of the first written records of kite flying is from around 200 B.C., Chinese General Han Hsin of the Han Dynasty wanted to know how far his troops would need to tunnel to enter a rival city. He flew a kite to measure the distance. With this information in hand his army was able to surprise the enemy and capture the city.

Close-up of a festival kite's construction, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

It is colorful and well constructed but it will if fly with grace and agility.

The kites become what their builders want them to be. Days of design and construction lead up to contest. There is much to learn building a kite. Natural science, mathematics, aeronautics, history, culture, art and crafts come together as a flying objects and opportunities for self-expression.

Kite being presented to a judge for judging, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

A kite awaits inspection by a judge. The event was organized by the Museo.

The Museo Costumbrista de Sonora displays the kites after the contest. For centuries kites were used by only by the military. Around the year 600, during the Silla Dynasty of Korea, General Gim Yu-sin’s troops refused to continue fighting because they has seen a shooting star and believed this was a bad omen. The General sent a fire ball into the sky with a large kite. The soldiers, seeing the star return to heaven, rallied and defeated the rebels.

Detrails of competing kites flying in the Alamos kite Festival with Earle and Joan Winderman watching, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  photos by Anders Tomlinson.

The kite festival is a colorful event to attend with all of Alamos at your feet.

Joan and Earle Winderman, that is a nice kite flying name, enjoyed a sunny day on El Mirador. Besides myself, they were the only gringos I saw at the festival. Whether one is flying a kite, or a spectator, everyone watches the kites.

Buddhist monks brought kites to Japan around the 7th century. They were thought to be able to protect rich harvests and deter evil spirits. During the Edo period kite flying became very popular when Japanese people below the samurai class were allowed to participate. The Edo (now Tokyo) government tried unsuccessfully to discourage this pastime as “too many people became unmindful of their work.”

Kite Festival in action, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

Amongst all that is going on a flyer must keep his focus on his kite.

Alamos is a wonderful place to fly kites especially from El Mirador up high and open to the winds that carry molecules Caesar, Leonardo da Vinci and Marilyn Monroe breathed. There is a timeless quality to kite flying. It is as as much about the flyer’s thoughts as it is about flying.

Kite flying began in Asia and slowly word spread to Europe. Marco Polo, around the end of the 13th century, brought back to Europe stories of kite flying. Period Illustrations showed military banners with non-flying dragon kites. 16th and 17th century sailors brought kites back from Japan and Malaysia. Kites at first had little impact on European culture and were regarded as curiosities.

Flyers work their kites on a western wind, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

Boys and their flying machines work winds off the Sea of Cortez.

Standing with their backs to the Sea of Cortez, the kite-flyers work the western on-shore winds and the drafts that come from the eastern Sierra Madre foothills.

As time marched on kites became universal and many used kites as scientific research tools.
In the 18th and 19th centuries men like Benjamin Franklin and Alexander Wilson learn more about the wind and weather used their knowledge of kite flying. Airplanes came about with the help of kite experiments by Sir George Caley, Samuel Langley, Lawrence Hargrave, Alexander Graham Bell, and the Wright Brothers.

A young boy flying his kite at the Alamos Kite Flying contest, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

And all the world, this very moment, is in his hands and in his control.

Here atop El Mirador the Sea of Cortez is some fifty miles to the west and the Copper Canyonlands are some fifty miles to the east. One could say the kite-flyer’s feet mark the center of the universe and their kites announce ownership of the moment.

Kids walking home from the Kite Festival, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.   Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

The kite flying festival has come to an end. On now it is a Spring walk home.

The kite festival was a wonderful day on a typical hot, windy dry Spring day. Summer is coming. Home is always near, just a short walk with friends and their colorful kites.


See something of interest? Click on the blue number and you are there!

100: Alamos horses… 99: Elizabeth Nuzum’s special place-garden…
98: El Pedregal Palapa 97: Cobblestone crew… 96: Kids playing in streets…
95: Red brick building… 94: 1993 Views of Alamos 93: Sweeping streets…
92: Restoration and repair… 91: Easter Sunday in the country

90: Taxi ride to Easter Sunday… 89: El Palomar Guest Ranch…
88: Inside Bishop Reyes’ Cathedral… 87: Cathedral details…
86: Grave diggers and street mourners… 85: Ceremony at the cemetery…
84: Victor digs a cistern… 83: Bilingual powers & flower details…
82: Border politics… 81: Galeria de Arte

80: Summer rains… 79: Four Almada women… 78: Nuzum rooftop garden…
77: Jacoby gardens & tequila… 76: Plaza kiosk-bandstand…
75: Traveling hypnotist… 74: Anthropocene & human nature…
73: Ethnic accounting… 72: Spanish Conquistadors… 71: Pueblo Magico

70: Beisbol, rodeo and dancing horses… 69: Estancia Crysalis… 68: Pemex…
67: Kids in the summer… 66: Painting the Mercado… 65: Kids at night…
64: Two churches, two men, two bells… 63: Uvalama pottery family…
62: Alamos woodworkers… 61: Dr. Joaquin Navarro

60: Security devices… 59: Dry tropical forest… 58: Good cop, bad cop…
57: Sadnah and San… 56: Doug Riseborough… 55: Population history…
54: Ode to the “mother range”… 53: Human condition, Hotel La Posada…
52: Los Tianguis… 51: Reflections from high ground

50: Geologic timeline… 49: Street posters… 48: Ruins with no roofs…
47: Calle Delicias in La Compana… 46: Blue paint & Mexican political parties…
45 Missionaries of Fatima, Mexican army base, Nueva Esmeralda…
44: Winter film crew… 43: Tebeto, 42: Auto icons… 41: Children at play and work

40: Conasupo comes and goes… 39: Workers repairing roofs… 38: Casa Obregon…
37: Alameda tree falls… 36: History walk at Escuela Paulita Verjan…
35: Calle 16 de Septiembre… 34: Casa Esmeralda… 33:Traffic cops and artists…
32: Casa de los Santos… 31: Calle Alberto Guitierrez, VW, watermelon. angels

30: Night Scenes… 29: Cattle, El Camino Real… 28: Late Spring, mountain views…
27:
Highways, roads… 26: Alamos gardens… 25: Elizabeth & Pember Nuzum…
24: Margo Findlay, Jim Wilson… 23: Maria Felix, Calle Galeana #41…
22: Antonio Figueroa… 21: Plaza waking up

20: Window treatments… 19: Cats, sheep… 18: Bishop Reyes Cathedral…
17: Summer floods… 16: Fiber optics & mechanics… 15: Estudiantina de Alamos…
14: Aduana… 13: Pantheon… 12: Peeling paint… 11: A tale of two seasons

10: Men working on ladders… 9: Curio shops… 8: Umbrellas… 7: Doric columns…
6: Palacio Municipal.. 5: Church youth choir… 4: Alameda Traffic…
3: Train tunnel & jumping beans… 2: Making adobe bricks…
1: Secondary school & Independence day

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©2013 Anders Tomlinson, all rights reserved.