Saturday, August 23, 2008

Beautiful Thompson Springs

I have been drawing and musing up a storm--I have about ten posts in my head, but haven't had the time to write any of them. In the meantime, yesterday I went looking for a petroglyph site in Sego Canyon, Utah, and drove through a ghost town of sorts, with several derelict businesses, but also with people living a short ways off in dilapidated wood frame houses and trailers. I did find the petroglyphs, which deserve their own reflection, but for the time being here are a few views of the town. The town's name is Thompson or Thompson Springs, but I saw no place-identifying signage aside the from the name of the motel. The cafe sign says simply CAFE and BAR. What's left of the paint job says that, anyway.

A reminder that deserts really are inhospitable places. The scenery is very striking, but most of it boils down to baked rocks. Good luck squeezing a living out of this unless you're selling crystals to Californians. Or to the French and the Germans. They're everywhere. It's kind of funny watching them work their way through the grocery. You can just hear them saying, "These people actually eat this Rice-A-Roni crap??" But they seem happy and engaged by the geology. Meanwhile, Moab meets the Euro, which seems to be going a long way these days.

If natural history is the calling card here, this cultural history seems just as complicated, as these regretful settlements suggest. Polygamists, tourists, Utes, hangers-on, Navajos, people like me who've come for the heat and the severity. Like the teeny lizards warming themselves on the trails. (But of course I have air conditioning.)

The motel is an indoor-outdoor event. All the doors are open--not unlocked, open. Most of the windows are broken. Quite a place, right along Route 128 and the railroad line. A skeletal affair, but with ponderous graffiti. "Spooky."

The motel has been vandalized repeatedly, a little self-regardingly. Sort of like helter-skelter with Tourette's, or actually pretending to have Tourette's. Or something. It's creepy but stagey.

Lovely office suite.

The cafe sign had fallen onto the roof. I wished I was there with the light in the opposite position--morning would be best for this. What a crazy sight.

I pushed the lens up against the glass to get a shot of the interior, including that maudlin little green mixer, jet age appliance, embarrassed by the stammering ill-placed globe and worse, the collapsing ceiling. Like bad relatives stumbling drunkenly downstairs moments before the company shows up. Like some guy with simile problems.

Back to facts.

The derelict cafe, facing north to the train tracks.

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