Landscape is a unity, a wholeness, an integration, of community and environment; man is ever part of nature, and the city is basically no less involved than the countryside. –D.W. Meinig, “Reading the Landscape” in The Interpretation of Ordinary Landscapes: Geographical Essays
The main reason I ride a bicycle is to get where I want to go. Sometimes I get an idea of places to go from someone else’s rides. John Fleck, a UNM professor and journalist with an emphasis on water, posted a ride on Strava with pictures of these cool murals depicting scenes from Albuquerque’s Bosque with colorful flora and fauna. It looked beautiful and I wanted to see it.
John posted a picture of the Pacific Avenue street sign on his ride, but I couldn’t make out the cross street. So the first time I ended up looking for these murals I rode up and down the wrong section of Pacific. I was on the West side of the railroad tracks. It turns out the murals are by the Tortuga Art Gallery on the east side of the tracks. I found it on my second try.
Standing there in September light, I marveled at this mural! The street became a theatre for this wrap-around art work transforming an ordinary building into a vibrant bio-scape. It must always look different in the changing light. Even though I only found what was already there, it gave me a sense of discovery and hope. Thank goodness there are artists working in this world!
While pedaling down Edith away from this mural a kid on his porch gave me a big wave and I waved back. It’s amazing how the bicycle creates a sense of adventure and connection that is so accessible and easy to enjoy, right out our front door. I took the Bosque Trail northward and the long way home, paying closer attention to the ordinary beauty all around me.
Check out this website collecting Albuquerque murals!
The mural in this blog post:
You can find John Fleck on Strava,
and also check out Mr. Fleck’s great blog on the geography of water in the arid West:
Here’s my Strava ride to view the Tortuga mural: