Peace Is Always Beautiful

One of the joys  of JoHannaMassey.com is the variety of people from around our planet; whose lives, interests, and perspectives are so varied, so interesting, often challenging, and so vividly expressed and shared on WordPress. Enthusiasm to honor our holidays is shared worldwide.  Those times to pause from the work-a-day pursuits, differences, challenges, and responsibilities.  The holiday season has the potential, and so very often  brings out the best, most generous, appreciative, creative, and good parts of being human. Snow on the San Francisco Peaks in the photo pictured above  arrived here in Arizona right on time to boost that holiday spirit.

2018 has been quite an unsettled year for our shared planet earth. However humble or lavish,  reverent or light-hearted the honoring of  December holidays will be this year, their enriching value in our lives never changes.

A sample of celebrations for this month:

Kwanzaa- December 26-January 1- celebrating the history, heritage, and culture of the African American and African Diaspora (the dispersion of people from their homeland).

Christmas- December 25- Christians celebrate the birth of birth of Jesus the Christ.

Chanukah December 2-December 10- The Festival of the Lights. In Judaism, the re-dedicating of the Holy Temple following Israel’s defeat of the Greek Army. With only enough oil to light lamps for one day, the lamps stay lit for eight symbolizing the Goodness of God.

Pancha  Ganapati– December 21-December25   Hindus worship Lord Ganesha, the elephant-headed Lord of culture/new beginnings. A time to mend miss steps and  bring Lord Ganesha’s blessing  of joy and harmony to family, friends, associates, culture and religion.

Winter Solstice: December 21 –shortest day of the year. Welcoming back the light to follow

Soyal – December 21  Hopi and Zuni Tribal members  honor  the winter solstice, Soyal honors the beginning of the return of the light and a New Year around the seasonal Wheel of our Lives.

Shabe-Yalda- December 21- Iranian Interfaith celebration of the rebirth of the sun on  winter solstice.

Mawlid al-Nabi: December 12- the birth ( Islamic Calendar)  of Muhammad (prophet of Islam).

Bodhi Day December 8- Buddha’s Day of enlightenment

Thank you to each and everyone of you this holiday season.  Heartfelt gratitude and joy for all of your kindness in support of JoHannaMassey.com. during 2018. All my best to you and yours.

Todays Music: Bing Crosby & Frank Sinatra – Silent Night

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It Was Impossible To Tame

“It was impossible to tame, like leeches.”
Lemony Snicket, Who Could That Be At This Hour?

Montezuma Well Arizona USA- Autumn 2018- Photo: JoHanna Massey.

Montezuma Well National Monument is full of leeches. Leeches are aquatic or terrestrial annelid worms with suckers at both ends. Many species are bloodsucking parasites or predatorsThousands of them writhe deep in the carbon dioxide heavy  water of Montezuma Well.

Scorpions, Snails, Amphipods and Diatoms  thrive here too;  safe in sunlit water, just below the surface. The  Diatoms are one celled plants feeding on that Light. The Amphipods, the evolutionary link between producers and predators, feed on the Diatoms.  The food and safety of the light fails both at dusk.  The Leeches rise to the surface of the water together, embrace the blackness of night,  and  gorge on the Amphipods.  At dawn the leeches return to the dark depths.  This predator and prey circle of life and death repeats in rhythm with planet Earth’s spinning, tilting, and rotation.

Fish do not, can not live in the waters of Montezuma Well. I would not drink or swim in  the water of Montezuma Well.

There are vents down sixty five feet on  the bottom of the well spewing  5.7 million liters (1.6 million gallons) of  water into Montezuma Well each day, the perimeter of the openings a mislead of swirling sand. The dissolved  levels of carbon dioxide in the water are eighty times too much. Then there is the high level of arsenic.  The temperature a steady 23 degrees centigrade  (74 Degrees Fahrenheit) year round, with the water a deep dark green color.

Though people have inhabited and explored this area for over one thousand years, it was not until 2011 that the source of the water was identified:

North of this harsh high desert that surrounds Montezuma Well is the Mogollom Rim, the southern edge of the Colorado Plateau. More than ten thousand years ago it rained and snowed up on the Rim. The now earth bound water seeped into every porous place of least resistance. Through passing time, miles of distance,  and several hundred yards of rock the rainwater and snow-melt  journeyed, picking up microscopic minerals along the way, leaving others behind.  It hit a wall of volcanic basalt at this location, creating a natural dam that forced the water back up towards the surface.  The roof of a large underground cave now  filled with water eroded. When the cave roof collapsed,  the sinkhole called Montezuma Well was formed.

Water leaves Montezuma Well through entering a long crack in the bowl of the Well rock forming a  narrow cave where the water flows through over 150 feet of filtering limestone before re-emerging from the outlet into an irrigation ditch on the other side. Sections of this ditch date back over 1,000 year. The water and ditches continue to be used today in nearby Rimrock. To me that is simply amazing.

Despite the leeches, scorpions, arsenic laden toxic water, original and creepy bugs and plants, and poison ivy, Montezuma Well is most often described as an Oasis . It is a lushly green, deeply shaded, and devoid of human sound and hurry. The surrounding area all harsh high desert.

For many years Montezuma Well  has held my attention. As part of the history of the area, the geology and ongoing science studies.  Then there is  feeling  of sanctuary and quiet of the place.  I’ve been told the cosmic  veil is  thin here;  reality could slide into another version and time and take me along. So far visiting the Well has remained  a familiar place for  a time out with the Cicadas in full song,  with the sound and light play of crystal clear water flowing out the Swillet, and sunlight dancing off the Beaver Creek flowing right there singing the backup harmonies.

It is believed that people have inhabited this area for over one thousand years. The remains of pit-houses, tools and artifacts in the area indicates the Salt River Hohokum lived in the area around 1050 CE. The Sinagua culture began building the small dwellings in the cliffs around the Well in the 1100’s. Around 1425 the people left the area, their former homes left empty to fill the muse and  imagination of visitors, or perhaps to hold tightly to the details of all that came before.

The descendants of those who lived here who are from the Zuni, Hopi, Yavapai, and Western Apache Tribes still return, all considering  Montezuma Well a sacred place to be approached with respect and reverence. It is said, that once something emerges from the vents at the bottom of the Well, it may never ever return.

Montezuma Well is a National Monument  located in Arizona USA -From Phoenix – Follow I-17 North to exit 293 (4 miles north of the exit for Montezuma Castle). Continue through the towns of McGuireville and Rimrock, following the signs for four miles to the entrance to the Well. The trails are well marked, the interpretive signs along the way excellent, and the sense of quiet divine.  There is no fee to enter Montezuma Well.

If you are reading this in the United States and are eligible to register or are registered to vote:   The 2018 United States elections will be held mostly on Tuesday, November 6, 2018. These midterm elections will take place in the middle of Republican President Donald Trump’s first term. All 435 seats in the United States House of Representatives and 35 of the 100 seats in the United States Senate will be chosen. The citizens of this country do have the power to return our Government to one that more readily reflects the values, aspirations, and concerns of all the people.  Voting is the way to have your voice heard.

May each and everyone of you reading this be safe, engaged, curious, generous, and prosperous this big month of holidays which is October.

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In The Best Way We Know How

“We return to you, O earth,
The things which you have given us
Willingly and most graciously;
With our hearts,
Hands and minds,
In the best way we know how.”
― Taj Mahal

 

 

Peace Is Always Beautiful

One of the joys and benefits of having JoHannaMassey.com has been interacting with people from around the globe, whose lives and interests are so varied, so interesting, and so vividly shared. For me, it has brought to the forefront just how different and just how the same we are in our enthusiasm to honor  our holidays, times which offer to bring out the best in us. In December alone the globally shared possibilities for Beautiful Peace to embrace our planet are quite possibly  miraculous.

A sample of celebrations:

Kwanzaa- December 26-January 1- celebrating the history, heritage, and culture of the African American and African Diaspora (the dispersion of people from their homeland).

Christmas- December 25- Christians celebrate the birth of birth of Jesus the Christ.

Chanukah December 24-January 1- The Festival of the Lights. In Judaism, the re-dedicating of the Holy Temple following Israel’s defeat of the Greek Army. With only enough oil to light lamps for one day, the lamps stay lit for eight symbolizing the Goodness of God.

Pancha  Ganapati– December 21-25   Hindus worship Lord Ganesha, the elephant-headed Lord of culture/new beginnings. A time to mend miss steps and  bring Lord Ganesha’s blessing  of joy and harmony to family, friends, associates, culture and religion.

Winter Solstice: December 21 –shortest day of the year. Welcoming back the light to follow

Soyal – December 21 Hopi and Zuni Tribal members  honor  the winter solstice, Soyal honors the beginning of the return of the light and a New Year around the seasonal Wheel of our Lives.

Shabe-Yalda- December 21- Iranian Interfaith celebration of the rebirth of the sun on  winter solstice.

Mawlid al-Nabi: December 12- the birth ( Islamic Calendar)  of Muhammad (prophet of Islam).

Bodhi Day December 8- Buddha’s Day of enlightenment

Kwanzaa- December 26-January 1- celebrating the history, heritage, and culture of the African American and African Diaspora  (the dispersion of people from their homeland).

Beautiful Peace to you this holiday season.  Heartfelt gratitude and joy for all of your support and kindness in support of  JoHannaMassey.com.

Todays Music: Bing Crosby & Frank Sinatra – Silent Night

To Let Things Feel Normal

“Everyone must resist the urge to let things feel normal, and stand up for individuals, minorities, organizations, and causes that will be under threat during the Trump Administration.’  “John Oliver

Oh the pressure is on:  to shop the holidays to financial ruin;  loudly gnash teeth over USA’s  recent joint political/ governing/ and citizen election debacle;  fret the unsettled global times, engage in a family holiday melodrama, or think too much about how Georgia is both powerful and thriving due to American preference for the lies and misinformation of fake news. And how about that Global Warming!

Excellent reasons and season to choose to continue the binge hiking during  this period before the Winter Solstice.   To spend some time to figure out how best to navigate safely,  with purpose, faith, peace, and good humor  in this world determined to go Tilt Ta Whorl .

Out the door and down the road to visit with an old friend, Hot Loop 94.

The Hot Loop can be a trickster. Important to keep track of  time when together, and keep a visual siting on a few formations and location in relation to them.  A compass essential.  The light leaves early from low between formations,  and cinder-cones. Late Fall through Spring is  the best time of the year to visit.  There are stretches of exposed basalt that heat up, and while it feels great on a winters day to walk your bare skin in the sun, it’s extremely hot in the summer months.  It’s quiet time with the Hot Loop. Saw only one lone cowboy all the day long. Surrounded  with cinder cones, red rock formations, deep washes, Jack’s Canyon, and the top ridge line of the Colorado Plateau above to Horse Mesa.  The narrow trail changes up from stretches of loose black basalt pebbles, thousands of small distractions,  aiming to send hikers sprawling if not mindful of every step. Then rusty red boot sucking  mud in deep forest shadows. An opportunity to hike with entire chapters of  Sedona’s 340 million years of geology.

The surrounding area tempts hikers to leave the trail.  Whether it is the colorful geology laid before the eyes, the sight of a high up there cavern, a first rate Sedona metaphysical vision, the sound of scrub jays,  cattle, or an angle for a photo providing a sweeping panorama for a perfect holiday greeting card….mindful to  remember it’s a clever seduction to stray from the trail being played upon hikers, the trail always the truest,  faithful companion.

 

This time of the year, Just before the Yule. Just before the light returns, and Santa Claus arrives…. is the perfect time to walk the earth, get clear on what and who is important and what my role is and will be going forward. My decades indicate that  both the perception, term, and the reality of this thing we call   ‘normal’ wears a thousand different disguises;  fluid, varied and changing.

May each and everyone enjoy safe, joyous, and peace-filled holidays. I’ll be visiting around with you to catch up over the holidays and return to posting with the New Year.  Peace and Blessings.

Today’s Music: Marvin Gaye : What’s Going On

Interesting Read:  Climate Change Tipping Points Are Not Just Symbolic featured in the Guardian .

Spot on Watch: The Lead: Jake Tapper

Local  AZ organizations doing good environmental work:

Keep Sedona Beautiful

Friends of the Verde River Greenway

Sedona Recycles