It Saves Going To Heaven

I hope you love birds too.
It is economical.
It saves going to heaven.
Emily Dickinson


Important March Events: 

March 8th: International  Women’s Day ‘ Now, more than ever, there’s a strong call-to-action to press forward and progress gender parity. There’s a strong call to #PressforProgress motivating and uniting friends, colleagues and whole communities to think, act and be gender inclusive.’

Spring Equinox – March 20- On the day of an equinox, daytime and nighttime are of approximately equal duration all over the planet. Not exactly equal, due to the angular size of the Sun and atmospheric refraction. The word is derived from the Latin aequinoctium, from aequus (equal) and nox (genitive noctis) (night). For me it is another turn of the seasons, and already the sun is setting later behind the townhouse.

“March for Our Lives” will take place on March 24, 2018 in Washington DC, as well as with ‘sister marches’ in major cities across the United States. Organized by survivors of the school massacre in Parkland, Fla. to rally against the continuing mass shootings taking place in our country. The event will include “student speakers, musical performers, guest speakers and video tributes,” according to the National Park Service permit application, with 14 Jumbotrons and 2,000 chairs, and an expectation of 500,000 participants.

However, the Washington Post reported this morning that the ‘March for Our Lives’ application to the Park Service for use of the National Mall,  was bounced by an application by a  “a student group at a local educational institution. The film crew’s plans listed equipment such as two tables, two bikes and jump ropes.”

I suggest and believe that it will not be so easy for the current individuals who hold office in the U.S. House of Representatives, Senate, and Trump White House Administration to squelch an American populace of young people coming up (and the people who love them), that refuse to be at risk of  slaughter by assault weapons, simply because they desire an education and attend schools in the United States.

 A safe and peaceful month of each and everyone.

News/ Music: Ohio- Crosby Stills Nash & Young

Hid Behind Anonymity

Way before Watergate,
Senior Administration Officials
Hid behind anonymity.
Bob Woodward


Over the past few years I have taken many photos of Ravens and Crows. They are common in the Verde Valley, can easily become part of the background of a day. On high tension wires, dark sky appropriate street lighting, strutting the length of the  petro station lot. The  garden wall, the tile roof, or atop the cypress trees beside a remote trail miles away. Ubiquitous.  Anonymous in their resemblance to one another.  Oracles hiding in plain sight, birdfaces in the crowd.  Recalling every word, action, and deed.

What a Rip Roaring Story unfolds when a  Raven steps forward with Deep Throat vocalizations, telling all that was seen heard, and observed.  In response to WordPress Photo Challenge of the Week: Anonymous


A safe and peaceful stretch of days to each and every one.

The Best Thing

“Those who have never known the deep intimacy
And the intense companionship
Of happy mutual love
Have missed the best thing
That life has to give.”
Bertrand Russell

With local knowledge‘ is no longer holding, as the usual weather for this time of the year stalls midst Indian Summer and Winter.  Enough to notice, and choose hiking trails differently.

Doe Mountain #60 (which is actually a mesa),  is a favorite Late Spring/Summer  hike as the trail is shaded and cool for the better part of the day. Except here we are in February, getting to the trail-head by paved road, to a busy, heavily info/warning/and restriction signage, filling with vehicles parking area.

Doe Mountain from Mescal Trail

Reminiscing as life long companions do…..about back in the day when the pavement ended miles ago, the road maintenance was a grating once a year, and the dust, Greasy Spoon red mud, flash flooding, long horned steers, rattlesnakes, or sky big wildness of it all, kept just about everyone back on Dry Creek Road but the Tour Guides jeeping tourists out to the Honanki and Palatki Ruins;  or the Bradshaws in the midst of their ranching day. Doe Mountain is a fee service area now, your credit cards welcomed on site for convenience…..

What does remain unchanged is the Red Rock formations and the great good time of hiking and climbing them. Today it is to the top of the Doe for a picnic lunch with a view.

The less than mile climb up Doe Mountain is not difficult, nor is it a long one. I did pack the camera away for most of the way… needing  my hands, feet, and attention choosing wisely together for the series of quick switchbacks  that rise four hundred feet to the top. It is good to pause periodically on firm footing and take a good look around.

From the top you can see a lot of why so many global citizens come to Sedona, or why we have returned this sunny, warm, stark blue sky day to one of our favorite places to just sit in gratitude, lunch, then  sprawl out in lizard pose to embrace it all while the penetrating heat of the sun warm red rocks flows in through bare skin.

An easy  hike about the top mesa  shows views of  Bear, Maroon, and Wilson mountains, Loy, Boynton, and Secret Canyons, Chimney Rock, and the Cockscomb.  Sedona is visible to the east and off to the south, Munds Mountain and Sycamore Pass, with heart  teasing  views of the Valley floor below.

An excellent choice for locals and visitors alike, for it’s easy access paved from town clear to the trail-head , excellent views and photo opportunities, a just high enough change in altitude to get an expanded look and new perspective of where you are, and with deep tissue warming rocks included at no additional fee.

Length: 0.7 miles to the top of the mesa, 1.3 miles around the edge.

If your go:
Let someone who is not hiking with you know where you are going.
Choose  sturdy already broken in foot-gear, avoid girly sandals or bare-feet, and remember a low center of gravity is your friend. Black clothing absorbs the sun-rays, you can overheat over a poor wardrobe choice.
A couple bottles of water per person.
A dandy take away from one of the many local eateries.
Turn your cell phone off.

And you are looking at the opportunity to enjoy a the Perfect Sedona Day.

Do you want or need a Tour Guide? That’s a question only individuals can ask and answer for themselves. And for me to use to promote  Krista Stevens idea for this  Weeks WordPress Photo Challenge: Tour Guide.

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Peace and Blessings to each and everyone. Have an excellent weekend.


Rising From Marsh Mud

“I rose from marsh mud
algae, equisetum, willows,
sweet green, noisy
birds and frogs.”
Lorine Niedecker

There are times when only a good marsh soothes and centers, showing true north clearly once again. Tavasci Marsh is not the blue/black boot sucking mud tidal marshes of the Delaware Bay; or the aloof… frigid… moving ice, scattered sedge, and reindeer, of the Spitzbergen.

Tavasci Marsh is a fresh water marsh, with no tidal interface or brackish/salty water, located in the high desert region of the Arizona Southwest. There is a delicious sense of time thinning, stretching, going fluid at Tavasci Marsh.

Toozigoot, a pueblo built by the Sinagua people around 1000 AD visible on a nearby hilltop, the sound of the Verde River, rustling reeds, and birdsong invites the mind, body, emotions, and spirit to join together again… to desire a vision of something good and new and engaging in the going forward. Indeed, there is a pleasure, peace, and promise, that comes of lingering with the not quite solid ground of a good marsh.

 Peace and Blessings to Each and Everyone.

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A Grand Gift Of Silence

“You have a grand gift for silence, Watson.
It makes you quite invaluable as a companion.”
Sherlock Holmes via Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

A recent day of shared silence… hiking the  Little-Horse Trail #61 to Chicken Point in Sedona Arizona. A hike which I now share silently with you in Photographs:

In response to WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Silence

New Oxford American Dictionary-
Origins: Middle English: from Old French, from Latin silentium, from silere be silent.                                                                                                                            
silence–  | ˈsīləns | noun complete absence of sound: sirens pierce the silence of the night | an eerie silence descended over the house.                                         the fact or state of abstaining from speech: Karen had withdrawn into sullen silence | she was reduced to silence for a moment.                                                    the avoidance of mentioning or discussing something: politicians keep their silence on the big questions. •                                                                                       the state of standing still and not speaking as a sign of respect for someone deceased or in an opportunity for prayer: a moment of silence presided over by a local minister.

verb [with object] cause to become silent; prohibit or prevent from speaking: the team’s performance silenced their critics | freedom of the press cannot be silenced by tanks. (usually as adjective silenced) fit (a gun or other loud mechanism) with a silencer: a silenced .22 rifle.

PHRASES in silence without speech or other sound: we finished our meal in silence.

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A Safe and Peace-filled weekend to each and everyone.


News/Music: Simon & Garfunkel- Sounds of Silence

The United States Came To Us- Part 2

“No Statue of Liberty
Ever greeted our arrival in this country…
We did not, in fact
Come to the United States at all.
The United States came to us.”
― Luis Valdez

Part Two of Two photo/essays on a recent outing to  Fort Verde State Park in Camp Verde Arizona.

Fort Verde State Park offered to me  a fascinating glimpse into the values, beliefs, goals, lifestyle, technology, fashion, weapons, and recreations of the U.S. Military in the latter part of the 1800’s.

Original Adobe of Military Quarters

A small museum/gift shop is located in the original Military Headquarters Building along with a museum revealing in artifacts, film, photos, information boards, and very knowledgeable Park Service employees…. who value storytelling…  exactly what brought the 306 enlisted men, 11 officers, 19 civilians, and 36 Apache Tribal Members acting as Scouts, to the Verde Valley in the 1860’s. And while I twice would snort in disdain at the smooth over depiction of the U.S. Army’s treatment of the already settled into the area tribal population, this beautifully executed museum enabled me to become an observer, see the events and people involved from a distance, while standing in place see their place in the events.   As an observer,  I could appreciate for the first time a bigger story than I previously knew:  The variety of goals, values, and belief systems  of very different individuals and groups that were sharing one space,  the clash and conflict inevitable. Miners, ranchers, settlers, U.S. Government, and the U.S. Army all focused on this place and time where I stand now for very different reasons.  Whether in their behaviors and actions, or choices of possessions ( shown in the well narrated display cases )- the  tools, clothing, weapons, correspondence, or  technology all these things speak the story of what the people involved valued.


Wpdms arizona new mexico territories 1863 idx.pngImage result for world map arizona usa

While the Civil War raged,  the United States Congress passed theArizona Organic Act(1863)“, splitting the western portion of the New Mexico Territory and declaring it the new Arizona Territory Slavery was abolished in this  new Territory, a practice already limited in the area by the Mexican tradition, laws, and settlement lifestyles. The Arizona Organic Act can be traced to businessmen from Ohio with silver mining investments in southwestern area , taking their request for Arizona Territorial status to Congress. was Union Army needed silver for the war.  The following year Prescott was named the Territorial Capital and not only were businessmen investing in mining operations, but a placer gold strike near Prescott, brought thousands of ill prepared and inexperienced miners into the region:

Farmers, merchants, and would be homesteaders were further encouraged  to travel west and settle in the bottom lands of the Verde River to farm and build communities:

At issue with this westward migration of people, industry, and land use, was the fact that the geographical area was already occupied and well established into the functioning communities  of the Yavapai and Tonto Apache Tribes.

The conflicts came with the sudden intensified land and resource use in an ecological area where the margin for sustainability is often thin between enough and ruin, living and death.  The conflicts came in culture clashes, with differences in goals, experiences, lifestyles, beliefs of land ownership, restrictions on land use, purpose and value of  mining, and rules of engagement for the raiding/respect of other communities.

It took over a year but soon these conflicts lead the businessmen with mining interests, miners, settlers, and ranchers , as residents of the newly  recognized Territory of the United States to  demand assistance/protection from the native tribes by the U.S. Government.  First to assist were a voluntary military of  Mexican recruits, who marched barefoot on half rations, but were recognized by the U.S. Army  as ‘brave fighters.’

In 1865 the regular U.S. Army arrived with a tent camp near West Clear Creek, releasing the volunteer recruits from duty the following year. The tent camp relocated once and again, with malaria prompting the final move in 1870 to the present location, named Camp Verde.  With 22 buildings constructed around a parade ground Camp Verde soon served as a staging base, with connecting roads built to service Fort Whipple to the west and Fort Apache to the East.

In addition to the road building goal, the U.S. Army was charged with enforcing the Federal Indian Policy  to control the Yavapai and Tonto Apache Tribes by creating reservations (specific geographical areas designated by the  U. S. Government for Native Tribes to live on.)

While the different Tribes were recognized by the Army as ferocious fighters, and had the advantage of local knowledge , the Tribes were at a very real disadvantage as they were simultaneously responsible for their families, they lacked the modern technology, weapons, training,  discipline, supplies, of the U.S. Army. and were already involved in disputes and responding to raids from other Tribes.

Between 1873 and 1875, nearly One Thousand Fifteen Hundred people from different Tribes were relocated to the 800 acre Rio Verde Reservation near Cottonwood, where they dug irrigation ditches and put fifty six acres under cultivation. But very quickly (February 1865), business men and settlers wanted the land for commercial mining, farming and ranching and took their demands to the U.S. Congress. The U.S. Army was charged with the responsibility of relocating entire tribal population, and did so on an 180 Mile  10 day winter walk without adequate food, water, or shelter to the Sans Carlos Agency in Globe. The number of tribal members who died or disappeared is disputed, but I believe well over one hundred.

Following this move, the U.S. Army primarily policed the reservations and their people renaming Camp Verde, Fort Verde in 1879.  The post was abandoned in 1899, and sold at Public Auction in 1899.

Made a State Park in 1970 and was added to the National Register of Historic Places one year later. There is much more to see, I encourage you to go, and Arizona is not bragging when claiming Fort Verde State Park to be                   ‘the best preserved example of an Indian Wars period fort in Arizona.’

Park and Facility Hours : 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. daily                                              Visitor Center/Park Store 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. daily                                             Park Entrance Fees                                                                                                       Adult (14+): $7.00
Youth (7–13): $4.00
Child (0–6): FREE

Interested in Arizona or Tribal History?  Here’s my recommendations:

Jack Utter- American Indians: Answers to Today’s Questions- Second Edition- 2001 National Woodlands Publishing/University of Oklahoma Press

Marshall Trimble – Roadside History of Arizona

Indian Givers- Jack Weatherford


Here’s Part One!

An excellent week to each and everyone.

The United States Came To Us – Part One

“No Statue of Liberty
Ever greeted our arrival in this country…
We did not, in fact
Come to the United States at all.
The United States came to us.”
― Luis Valdez

A picnic packed, out the door jaunt of a day, that included Fort Verde State Historic Park. Promoted as ‘ the best preserved example of an Indian Wars period fort in Arizona.’


The first surprise turned out to be that there is no fort.

A well maintained white picket fence marks the boundaries.  According to one of the many information boards available during a  self guided tour:

Building materials were a concern. Many forts were located in barren, treeless areas and building materials were in short supply. Whatever wood was available was needed in the construction of buildings.

The army was also concerned about Troop morale. Huddling behind a wall was not considered inspiring for the troops. One general in the Dakota Territory wrote, “It is better for troop morale to depend on vigilance and breech-loaders for protection than to hide behind palisades.

The second surprise was just how interesting, firing of the imagination, the self guided tour was for me.  There are engaging displays…with a  balanced mix of artistic, artifact, photos, tools, correspondence,  and time correct technologies accompanied by clear, easily understood  explanations.  Found myself drawn in, captured really,  by the narrative of the military history of the Verde Valley area. The displays of these items, some familiar and others quite curiosities humanized for me the military personnel, miners, ranchers, and settlers involved. The collection of old photographs fill in the narratives well. How vastly different the concept of how to live in this area differed from the people already established here.  Definitely suggest it as a place to visit if you are visiting Sedona, to take the young ones, and to take visitors who are visiting, if you already live locally.

Several original buildings are preserved, filled with period displays,  enabling visitors to get a sense of what was necessary and valued by the soldiers and their families who lived there.  Whether  the guns at the ready beside thin blanketed cots, four to a room in the Bachelor Officers quarters:

Or the separate quarters for the Commanding Officer and his family:

The ‘Striker’, an  enlisted man whose responsibilities included the chores, laundry, cooking, and child care also lived in the Commander’s Quarters. This duty included better living quarters, and an extra $5.00 dollars a month salary, a substantial increase,  bringing his monthly pay to $13.00.

There was also a Surgeons Quarters, where antiseptic procedures were new ideas under development, there were no antibiotics or vaccines, and amputation was the treatment of choice for many injuries and infections.  Also an identical building to the Commanding Officer’s Quarters served as  Married Officer’s Quarters, only with four families sharing the same space. At full function there were 22 buildings, the few remaining cared for and brimming over with history.

Part Two of the Fort Verde State Park Photo/Essay, arriving soon,  will move  to the original Military Headquarters

Original Adobe of Military Headquarters- Fort Verde State Park, Camp Verde Arizona

where I learned and will share with you, just why the U.S. Army,  ….a maximum  306 enlisted men, 11 officers, 19 civilians, and 36 Apache Tribal Members acting as Scouts, came together here in the Verde Valley between 1871-1891.

An excellent day to one and all.

Here’s Where To Find Part Two