Dove descending interior old Augustus Lutheran Church Sanctuary, founded by Henry Melchior Muhlenberg, c. 1743 Providence (Trappe) PA, 18 Sept 2012.

22 June 2010

Sky Shadows / JFK in Costa Rica.

Eruption of Irazu
Sky Shadows Here All photographs below © copyright from distribution, commercial exploitation of content, transmission, or storage in any other website or electronic retrieval system without express written consent.

 A Photo Essay of President Kennedy's 1963 Visit to Costa Rica, which complete text appeared as Sky Shadows @ Jack.
The end and sequel of this voyage, Remembering Jose Donoso, is here.

JFK in Costa Rica
Magnify with a click and double click.

"When JFK visited San Jose March 18-20 1963 for the Alliance For Progress, the volcano Irazu erupted. It took the ash some time to fall, but when it did the streets were coated each morning with gunmetal dust. His motorcade down Avenida Central through hundreds of thousands of people compounds in my memory with Easter of that year, a month later, when from early dawn I walked the streets and photographed the immense parade preparations, the crucified Christ carried on the shoulders of people with the Virgin and St. Joseph" (Remembering José Donoso).

 San José was later blanketed with black volcanic ash that erupted the day President Kennedy toured the streets. At the base of the wall is written Viva Calderon Guardia, a president of Costa Rica in the 40's.
1. Presidential motorcade down Avenida Central
The extraordinary part of the President's reception in San José was the motorcade down Avenida Central. In those days security was light.He rode in a convertible with a motorcycle escort and about six vehicles in all. It was a beautiful day. People waved American flags with huge enthusiasm. The crowd lined both sides of the Avenue, half a million people contained on the sides by police and guards.

"The outpouring of affection moved the President, you can see the elation on his face, but more so smiles and joy on peoples’ faces. So the volcano was erupting and the president was streaming in the firmament, decorated with crepe. It was the celebration of a lifetime, but Good Friday was coming and Holy Week,  tradition of a thousand years.
3. The street after motorcade passed
The Kennedy visit and processions of Good Friday blend together, its statues already burnished. The alabaster skin rose over the shoulders of the crowd like the road to Golgotha. I exchanged glances with the Mother and Joseph. The same face appears in the Lady Chapel of the Glastonbury ruins who above the altar holds his arms wide. But backs were ready to bear their burdens, and of course later in town they said the volcano was an ill omen" (from Sky Shadows).
2. Motorcade
The face of the man who appears under Kennedy’s arm during the motorcade has bushy eyebrows, a black mustache, a beard, a kind of top hat. It is not Lincoln. The President’s face is framed by the American flags they were waving.

4. Dean Rusk walks to the podium
5. American ambassador's residence. JFK speaks.
Secretary of State Dean Rusk walks to the podium. The embassy held a reception for the President to greet all the Americans that afternoon in the ambassador’s residence, a large white columned affair.




6. President JFK greeting Americans at ambassador's residence after speech
"A cicada begins to sing two weeks before Semana Santa. They lose their body weight while singing. It signals high seriousness. Driving a car or motorbike on Good Friday is discouraged. Some communities throw nails in the streets to prevent it. The President’s caravan down Avenida Central three weeks before had to go twenty miles an hour to keep from being overrun by two thousand young men in pursuit. The embassy held a reception for the President to greet all the Americans that afternoon in the ambassador’s residence, a large white columned affair. Hundreds of Americans attended" (Sky Shadows). After he spoke President Kennedy left the porch and mingled with the crowd.

The Parades of Semana Santa


People watch the Virgin pass
The President's visit and processions of Good Friday blend together. There were even more people out city wide for Holy Week, all close up, the parades, the embassy, the floats, the processions that went 15 miles from San José to Cartago, some people walking barefoot. I started walking early Good Friday at dawn to every barrio of San José.

The statues were carried in reverence, as in a vocation. A girl half the size of those around her wears a red scarf, (below) a son in a blue shirt holds onto his father’s hair..."head scarves of women walking with the floats, faces of police protecting them, impassive ushers carrying the images on poles, the Holy Mother’s gown embroidered in gold with vines and flowers, the faces of children in cradles at her feet.."

The Holy Mother’s gown embroidered in gold with vines and flowers, the faces of children surround her in cradles at her feet.

The dozen or so slides lay dormant in archival sheeting more than forty years. The head scarves of women walking with the floats, faces of police protecting them, impassive intent ushers carried the images on poles. This man seems an advance guard.



"Priests in white surplice lead the float of the Savior. Corn plants embroider his robe, garlands of pink lilies and roses at his feet, a diadem on his head. Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die seems to be the message The cross on his left shoulder is enameled in black with inlays, the heads of the priests are bowed, arms folded. A Cardinal in red walks between. A girl half the size of those around her wears a red scarf, a son in a blue shirt holds onto his father’s hair."


Priests in white surplice lead the float of the Savior.The cross on his left shoulder is enameled in black with inlays, the heads of the priests are bowed, arms folded. A Cardinal in red walks between.


Guide ropes, wires. Caps with the guard's badges. Corn plants embroider his robe, garlands of pink lilies and roses at his feet, a diadem on his head. Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die.

There were more sky shadows in that journey, mirroring the surface.
  "I count myself the fish who took the hook and was caught, Jonah who turned the light off and watched his pupils dilate in the dark. For among people all different I left on this first exploration without the help of God.  But even in the sea, darkness dawns. I went natural and when it was done got spit back up. It is dark in the fish where I was made a poet. As they flee the sky shadows above so this fled from me when I did seek. Following this pursuit conceived in the secret place at ten, I would have caught tropicals in the Amazon. The colors that swam in those pools later attracted me to mudslip and turn. But clay does not ask, why have you made me thus? Fish, butterflies, flowers, it could have been stars.  As Melville says in chapter one,  “the great flood-gates of the wonder-world swung open.”
Street after Irazu.
Sky Shadows Retrospective / 400 dpi, 4800dpi: 8finishd7400dpi7x7, clouds6


JFK in Costa Rica--as a Magical Realism Tour
Across from the Church of God building in Limon where George stayed
 Motorcade 2. above
6. above
Street after Irazu
3. Above. Street After the Motorcade
After the motorcade, BxW.
3. above, again 

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