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.

News/Music

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

 

The Tranquilizing Drug Of Gradualism

“This is no time
To engage in the luxury of cooling off
Or to take the tranquilizing drug
Of gradualism.
Now is the time
To make real
The promises of Democracy.”
 
This morning  I read that old inspiring civil rights stump speech still so relevant today,  “I Have A Dream.”  Spoken  at The March On Washington in August of 1963 by Reverend Martin Luther King. These words still inspire and remind me to the marrow what a gift and privilege I have experienced and benefited from by growing up and living with a functioning Democracy as the system of Government. This speech reminds me of the constant vigilance and participation by every one of us that is needed  to maintain, protect, and grow that Democracy. Here’s the speech in it’s entirety, given to a crowd of over 250,000 people from all over the country gathered in our nations capital to demand their voices be heard and their rights acknowledged  and respected. This is a speech to read aloud to your Sons and Daughters, Grandchildren, Students, and Kin. We honor a true Patriot and important American  today in our honoring Reverend Martin Luther King.

 

I Have A Dream

I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.

But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. So we have come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.

In a sense we have come to our nation’s capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked “insufficient funds.” But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. So we have come to cash this check — a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice. We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quick sands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro’s legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.

We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. They have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.

As we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, “When will you be satisfied?” We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied, as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro’s basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their selfhood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating “For Whites Only”. We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.

Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair.

I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.”

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.

This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

This will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with a new meaning, “My country, ‘tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim’s pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring.”

And if America is to be a great nation this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!

Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado!

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California!

But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee!

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”

These photos are from a display I photographed at the Fort Verde State Park – Camp Verde Arizona on the history of the Buffalo Soldiers, created following the Emancipation Proclamation. Reverend King referenced in his speech.

A safe, joyous, and courageous week  for each and every one.

News/Music: Dion- Abraham Martin & John, Senate Judiciary Committee Testimony  of Glen Simpson- Full Transcript, Steele Dossier- Full Document, Facebook Finagling Increasing Fake News -New York Times

 

 

“Curiouser and Curiouser”

“Curiouser and Curiouser.”
― Lewis Carroll,
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
& Through the Looking-Glass

What fun to look back through the year’s photographs. So many ‘favorites’ and the opportunity to pause and recall many an excellent moment from this almost gone year. Have enjoyed sharing so many of those moments through photographs with you.

In response to  Word Press Photo Challenge: 2017 Favorites

News/Music: Fatboy Slim: Weapon of Choice, The Worst Antiscience BS in 2017-MOther Jones