Tucson part 1 -- the castaway

In the late 80's, Santa Fe style was a huge trend in interior decoration -- I recall it as muted shades of dusty rose, turquoise, and beigy yellows, supposedly inspired by the colours of the Sonoran Desert.  But our recent trip to Tucson, Arizona revealed what was missing in our Northern interpretation of this colour scheme -- the sun. Set against a backdrop of the bluest sky imaginable, with the sun reflecting off every surface, there is nothing washed out about this landscape. It is vibrant, exciting, and ironically alive considering our general impression of the desert as parched and dead.

In a brief series of  posts, I want to show you the beauty of the desert, starting first with a glimpse of  the cultural history.

"El Tiradito" (the castaway) is, according to the signage there, "the only shrine in the United States dedicated to the soul of a sinner buried in unconsecrated ground". It dates back to a tragic love triangle in the 1870s, but it's magical powers are still revered today by locals who leave colourful tokens and written wishes on and around the site.

There are candles, statues, this wedding dress, and curled up notes tucked into every cavity of the crumbling brick structure. A sense of hope and desperation is tangible here connecting events and people of the past with those of the present.

In the hills just outside of the downtown area, is the crumbling stone remains of the homestead built in the 1930s by an adventurous couple, Sherry and Ruby Bowen.

It seems a pretty remote location -- and certainly was even more so in the 30s and 40s, but undoubtedly they just never got tired of looking at that blue sky!

Unrelated -- supposedly blogger has set up a cookies advisory message for me on this page in compliance with current European laws. I'm supposed to make sure this is working, but I can't actually see it. Can anyone out there confirm that it's up and running? Much appreciated if you can!


  1. Older Sister of Your Man30 May 2018 at 07:47

    Beautiful photos! You had a wonderful trip. When we moved into this house, the tile was dusty rose/peach, the foyer walls were turquoise and the rest of the walls were beigy yellow. And we do get brilliant blue skies. The former owner must have visted Tucson at some point. I didn't get a message about cookies.

    1. We did have a lovely trip. I didn't get notification of any posted comments! I wasn't ignoring you!
      I like your updated house colours... dusty rose has had its day!

  2. Artist daughters BF30 May 2018 at 09:17

    That old stone house is really something! Very much looking forward to hearing about the rest of your trip too. I really love deserts and their big blue skies.

    No cookie warning here either but I wouldn't worry about it.

    1. Okay -- I won't worry, much.
      I'm very much missing that big blue sky and intensely warm sun these days


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