Category: Travel

A Little Piece of Heaven

My wife and I went unicorn hunting a few weeks ago. That is, we went on a 7-day road trip. We motored through the scenic wonderland of the great states of Utah and Arizona. It was a successful hunt, as we captured a number of those elusive one-horned critters along the way.

View of Zion Canyon, from Weeping Rock. Yep, plenty of unicorns to be found here.

View of Zion Canyon, from Weeping Rock. Yep, plenty of unicorns to be found here.

Our first stop was Zion National Park. Zion was originally named Mukuntuweep National Monument. Mukuntuweep is a Paiute Indian word meaning “straight-up land” or “straight arrow”, or straight something or other. We were lucky, as we were not shot by any straight arrows as we toured the region.

Looking straight up the canyon walls, near the River trail.

Looking straight up the canyon walls, near the River trail.

A Mormon rancher, who apparently couldn’t speak Paiute, renamed the area Little Zion, with the idea that it resembled a little piece of heaven. This got me wondering what heaven really is.

I passed at least one kidney stone last week. For me, heaven is not having kidney stones. Or better yet, heaven is having good health in general.

Court of the Patriarchs. From left to right, these peaks are called Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. They all suffered from kidney stones, and therefore had these rocks named after them.

Court of the Patriarchs. From left to right, these peaks are called Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. They all suffered from kidney stones, and therefore had these rocks named after them.

The Virgin River passes through Zion National Park, and some say that heaven is having 72 virgins. But I say, how long will they remain virgins? Heaven for these men is very short-lived, unless they suffer from erectile dysfunction. Besides, virgins make lousy lovers. They’re bashful, and you have to show them how to do everything.

The Virgin River. This river is renowned as a favorite swimming spot for young ladies and old maids.

The Virgin River. This river is renowned as a favorite swimming spot for young ladies and old maids.

For me, heaven is having one lover, and one only. Lovers can cause headaches, you know. Just one is enough for me. And a lover who you can communicate and work well with can be very useful in a unicorn hunt. But just try coordinating a hunt with 72 giggling girls. It can never work.

A closer view of the Virgin River, looking as pure and innocent as ever. But I'm skeptical. When I got real close I spotted some tadpoles.

A closer view of the Virgin River, looking as pure and innocent as ever. But I’m skeptical. When I got real close I spotted some tadpoles.

For the Mormon that named this area, heaven was beautiful scenery. I’ll go along with that. My wife and I love the beauty of Zion National Park. In fact, this was our fourth visit.

Our first visit was brief, as we just drove through it like a Mukuntuweep straight arrow. My wife was behind the wheel, and she was so impressed by the scenery that she would stop in the middle of the highway and back up traffic. She had a hard time keeping her eyes on the road, and at times I feared she would drive off a cliff. For her, the beautiful scenery was heaven. For me it was a living hell.

Checkerboard Mesa. Wouldn't this be the perfect spot to build a Senior Citizen Center?

Checkerboard Mesa. Wouldn’t this be the perfect spot to build a Senior Citizen Center?

We’ve since learned to enjoy Zion in safer ways. And our memories of this unique canyon are the unicorns we captured. Too bad we couldn’t remain in this little piece of heaven. But there were more unicorns waiting down the road . . .

Haunting the Huntington

A bench at the Rose Garden, Huntington Library. There are many benches adorning the pleasance, for those of us who enjoy a periodic nap.

A bench at the Rose Garden, Huntington Library. There are many benches adorning this pleasance, for those of us who enjoy a periodic nap.

My wife and I haunted the Huntington a few days ago. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens was founded in San Marino, California in 1919 by Henry Huntington.

The famous paintings, Blue Boy and Pinkie are ensconced at the Huntington. Blue Boy was painted in 1770 by Thomas Gainsborough. My wife, who was once an art student, tells me that the bright colors of this painting were unusual for the day. Many considered it ostentatious and even pornographic, and some wanted to tar and feather the poor artist. If only those prudes could be around these days to surf some of the "art" you can find on the internet.

The famous paintings, Blue Boy and Pinkie, are ensconced at the Huntington. Blue Boy was painted in 1770 by Thomas Gainsborough. My wife, who was once an art student, tells me that the bright colors of this painting were unusual for the day. Many considered it ostentatious and even pornographic, and some wanted to tar and feather the poor artist. If only those prigs could be around these days to surf some of the “art” you can find on the internet.

He was a business tycoon who married his widowed aunt in 1913. In those days, incest was perfectly acceptable amongst the gentry, as long as they kept it in the family.

Pinkie was painted in 1794 by Thomas Lawrence. My wife, the art student, had always thought the painter was the same fellow who limned Blue Boy. Ha! Pinkie was renamed by the Huntington, "Sarah Barret Moulton: Pinkie" after the young lady who posed for this portrait. She died one year later, at the age of 12. Poor Pinkie. And by the way, she never got to meet Blue Boy. Her niece was the poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning.

Pinkie was painted in 1794 by Thomas Lawrence. My wife, the art student, had always thought the painter was the same fellow who limned Blue Boy. Ha! Shows how much she knows. Pinkie was renamed by the Huntington, “Sarah Barret Moulton: Pinkie” after the young lady who posed for this portrait. She died one year later, at the age of 12. Poor Pinkie. And by the way, she never got to meet Blue Boy. Her niece was the poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning.

Together, he and his antewife auntie collected rare books, masterpieces of art, and botanical exotics.

Speaking of Pinkie, these bright pink flowers nearly blinded me, in the Desert Garden.

Speaking of Pinkie, these bright pink flowers nearly blinded me, in the Desert Garden.

They placed it all in a trust in 1919, so that the hoi polloi, including my wife and me, could come on down, give it a gander, and be awesomely inspired.

"A Breezy Day" was painted in 1887 by Charles Courtney Curran. Perhaps not a good day for a picnic, or whatever these ladies are up to.

“A Breezy Day” was painted in 1887 by Charles Courtney Curran. Perhaps not a good day for a picnic, or whatever these ladies are up to.

Today the Huntington Library hosts more than a half million guests a year.

A bloom on a Eucalyptus tree, in the Australian Garden.

A bloom on a Eucalyptus tree, in the Australian Garden. The bee loved the pollen. My sinuses weren’t so appreciative.

About 1,700 scholars from around the world conduct advanced humanities research every year, at the Huntington. Some have included Nobel Laureates, Pulitzer Prize winners, and even Oscar winners such as Katharine Hepburn. Hey, no one gives a damn about those other folks, but Katharine Hepburn? Wow!

A sculpture in the Chinese Garden. Very mysterious meaning here.

A sculpture in the Chinese Garden. Very mysterious meaning here.

There are eleven different gardens at the Huntington, featuring plants from various climates and regions. I noticed that the Chinese Garden had many Chinese visitors, and the neighboring Japanese Garden had many Japanese guests. But not many Chinese seemed to be visiting the Japanese Garden, or vice-versa. Centuries-old suspicions seem to persist, even on American soil.

A camellia in the Japanese Garden.

A camellia in the Japanese Garden.

There are three different art galleries. One is devoted to European Art (Huntington Art Gallery), one is devoted to American Art (Scott Art Galleries), and the other is just for any old art, I guess (Boone Gallery).

I can't remember the name of this painting, or the artist. I like to call it, "Smoking Boys" by Philip Morris.

I can’t remember the name of this painting, or the artist. I like to call it, “Smoking Boys” by Philip Morris.

My wife and I were in the Huntington Art Gallery, admiring fine portraits of ancient aristocrats. We were milling about with dozens of other quiet and reflective admirers. One man thought he was alone, and let a big fart while gazing pensively at a George Romney masterpiece. He didn’t notice my wife standing behind him. She finished his flatulent statement by saying “. . . goes the weasel!” He slinked away, looking embarrassed. Too bad. There’s no need to feel embarrassed about being artsy-fartsy.

My wife, the art student, informed me in whispered, hushed, respectful tones, that the name of this sculpture is "Penis Lady".

My wife, the art student, informed me in whispered, hushed, respectful tones, that the name of this sculpture is “Penis Lady”. Frankly, I don’t see it.

Don't Curse the Nurse!

Sharing support with stories & humor

Marie Lamba, author

Some thoughts from author and agent Marie Lamba

Catxman's Cradle

Catxman dances, Catxman spins around, leaps ....... // I sing a song, a song of hope, a song of looove -- a song of burning roses. / Synthesizer notes. // (c) 2021-22

naturechirp

Celebrating God's creatures, birds and plants...

Starting Over

Because there's never enough time to do it right the first time but there's always enough time to do it over

awifemyverse.wordpress.com/

A Wife, My Verse, and Every Little Thing

Chasing Unicorns

Where smartasses chase unicorns

suyts space

Just another WordPress.com site

barsetshirediaries

A site for the Barsetshire Diaries Books and others

The Trefoil Muse

Words are art on paper, and for me they are the seeds of my soul.

Marta Frant

Humor and Lifestyle

Jessica reads&write

I read to live, I write to share their life

Jessica E. Larsen

Writer. Reader. A mom and a romantic dreamer 🥰 💕

Borden's Blather

A 60-something guy trying to figure out the world, and his place in it.

...i choose this...

joy, happiness, travel, adventure, gratitude

A Pierman Sister

Paris, Travel and Family

Luminous Aether

Light is a state-of-mind.

Nuggets of Gold

Helping you to find the gold nuggets amidst the dirt, sand and pebbles of life!