Even if most of my possessions are in this Brooklyn apartment, I still can’t shake the feeling that Oklahoma is home. Maybe I just haven’t given myself time to put down roots anywhere else, even if I fear I’m like one of those epiphyte plants in the rainforest that grows without rooting in the soil. Last Thursday, I woke up at 4 am to go to the airport to fly to the state where I spent most of the first 23 years of my life.
The flight went smoothly from LaGuardia to Dallas and then up to Will Rogers Airport in Oklahoma City, where I was greeted with a logo of Will Rogers lassoing the world and a huge advertisement for the University of Oklahoma, complete with a drum major leaning way back like he does at the beginning of the football games. Nice job getting me started on the nostalgia early, Oklahoma. And I only got deeper into memory lane from there, and it branched out into several boulevards down to some winding traffic circles of recalling the four years I lived in Norman and the one in Oklahoma City. Was it really only one? Because in such a short time, I sure made that city mine, and I think I can still walk into just about any art gallery, coffee shop, or bar and find someone I know. I kind of miss that; New York can be a little lonesome. Anyway, I was thrilled to be greeted at the airport by my brother and parents, and we had a late lunch at the Iguana Grill, where I had a bowl of sopa de maiz. So delicious.
After lunch, me and Tim used the free time before the arrival of the visiting relatives to hang out and do some exploring. We started with Untitled [ArtSpace], where I used to work. I hadn’t been back since leaving for France, and they have since changed their name to [ArtSpace] at Untitled and added these fancy outdoor flags. They were showing an exhibit of William Christenberry paintings and also a sampling from the gorgeous and stunning photography collection they have acquired. It was great to stop and visit. I do miss working in an art center and being involved in things like that.
After getting bubble teas, we drove down to Norman, and Tim took me on a tour of the destruction from the May 10 tornado that ripped through the area. As you can see from the above, it was a pretty intense storm. It actually went right outside of where I lived in the fall of 2007.
I was sad to learn this week that the tornadoes that touched down that day took the house of an artist I interviewed for an Oklahoma Gazette story, and that she lost all her art and supplies. If you have a few dollars to send her way, help her out! Yikes, looks like there are more touching down in Oklahoma as I type. Everyone listen to Gary England and stay safe!
We stopped by Tim’s house, and saw that the creepy abandoned place that was next door had been torn down, leaving random debris behind like these lawn chairs. From there, we decided to try to go by the Sam Noble Museum of Natural History.
Unfortunately, it was too late in the day and it was closed. We walked around the building anyway, and spied something interested by the air conditioners…
A totem pole! What was it doing out there? I’m not quite sure. Maybe it was getting repainted. I loved these delightful birds. The surprise of finding a huge totem pole was as great as if the museum had actually be open.
And it just got better, as this metal dinosaur was hanging out next to the totem pole. I would absolutely love to see the storage area of the museum.
We did look into the museum itself, and I saw my old friend the woolly mammoth in the atrium.
We then got a coffee, which was a necessity to me at that point. I think I’m still recovering from the fatigue of my Oklahoma weekend. Well, those were the adventures of my first day back in Oklahoma, and I’ll be posting more soon!