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.

Snow Day In Sedona

Corruption is like a ball of snow,
Once it’s set a rolling
It must increase.
Charles Caleb Colton

 

 

 

Todays Reads:

Executive Order Protecting Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry To United States

Number Of People Affected by Trumps Travel Ban

Resistance To Trump Travel Ban

Madeleine Albright (former US Secretary of State) :  On Trump Executive Travel Ban

Todays Music:  Pete Seegar- If I Had A Hammer

 

Let Somebody Love You

Nevis Photo JoHanna Massey 2 (1)

Nevis: West Indies

‘Desperado,
Why don’t you come to your senses?
Come down from your fences,
Open the gate
It may be rainin,
But there’s a rainbow
Above you
You better let somebody love you
Before it’s too late.’
From “Desperado” -Eagles

Nevis Photo JoHanna Massey 1 (1)

Nevis Photo JoHanna Massey 6 (1)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On my way to the beach,  I heard  a not quite young couple fussing about something someone said to someone else about something that happened  five thousands of miles away twenty five years ago and it  made me grateful for being old, forgiving, and invisible.

 

Today’s Music: Eagles: Desperado

 

I have been invited to join the Senior Salon at Haddon Musings. this week and share Let “Somebody Love You.”  You can find lots of interesting and often surprising perspectives on this thing called old on Wednesdays at Haddon Musings.

Comfortably Numb: The New American Normal?

 I had planned to do a nostalgic gratitude piece today. To WordPress, to everyone who has shown up and supported me in growing my website, and to say how thrilled and grateful I am to have  500+ followers, on this first year anniversary of  JoHannaMassey.com. Cancelling my planned  First Annual Blog Love Fest  with the news that there has been another mass shooting  in the United States. I simply can not do warm and fuzzy today.

According to the New York Times:

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. — Police officers here spent the night combing the scene of a shooting rampage that left 14 dead and 17 others wounded and scouring the backgrounds of two suspects, a husband and wife who died in a shootout, looking for reasons behind the attack. The suspects,  armed with .223-caliber assault rifles and semiautomatic handguns and wearing masks and body armor — are believed to have opened fire at a social services center here around 11 a.m. on Wednesday.

My nostalgia comes in the form of a re-post from October 5, 2015 following the Umpqua Community College shooting in Oregon.  Spend some time in your mind and heart with the data I researched out. Data that represents the murders  of our daughters, sons, mothers, neighbors, fathers, brothers, co workers, and friends. Of people who, like yesterday, were  attending their office Christmas Party yesterday at a facility that serves those with disabilities.
Hello,
Is there anybody in there?
Just nod if you can hear me.
Is there anyone at home?
Comfortably Numb- Pink Floyd
 delton_556
The daily reality of living or visiting in the United States is that whether going to the market, church, school mall, the movies, a coffee shop, or just walking down the street, there is a risk of being shot.

 

It gives me no solace  to know that the President of the United States and I share a sense of ‘frustration” over  the gun violence in the United States. It is awful to hear the  adjectives “normal” and “routine.”  being used to describe the deaths and injuries  by guns in America.  The citizens of the United States are  referred to as “Numb” when it comes to being the collateral damage in the politics and profits of our weapons industry. The most recent mass school shooting at  Umpqua Community College, in Oregon  resulted in nine more individuals murdered and at least nine more injured by the gun fire.

I believed  following the Sandy Hook Elementary School, Newtown murders, where  a classroom of six and seven year old children ( and the staff trying to protect them,) were shot America had reached a  tipping point.  That the United States citizens would rally for change to the way we buy and sell guns.  This would be  the United States of America’s  watershed moment. I was so wrong.

There have been 142 School shootings since the Sandy Hook School murders.

Spend some time with your heart and mind with these numbers:

As of August 26, 2015 the United States  averages more than one mass shooting per day. A ‘mass shooting’ defined as a shooting with four or more victims. That is 238 days with 247 mass shootings. The number has increased to 294 since August.

15—The number of times during his presidency that Obama has made a statement about a mass shooting.

294 – The number of mass shootings (defined as when four or more people were injured or killed by a gun) in 2015.

45—The number of school shootings that have taken place in 2015.

142 – The number of school shootings since the 2012 massacre in Newtown, Connecticut.

9,957—The number of people who have been killed by gun violence this year.

20,269 – The number of people who have been injured by a firearm this year.

153,144—The number of people who were killed by homicide in which firearms were used between 2001 and 2013 (the last year that such data was available).

7—The number of children and teens who die every day, on average, from gun violence (Five are murdered and two kill themselves).

20– The number of times higher the homicide rate by guns is for Americans, compared to those who live in other developed countries.

President Obama tells us,  “There is a gun for roughly every man, woman, and child in America.” That is Three hundred and Twenty One Million, Eight Hundred Ninety One Thousand, Eight Hundred , Fifty Nine (321,891,859.)  guns.

Folded into  President Obama’s frustration, is the solution:

 

This is a political choice that we make to allow this to happen every few months in America.  We collectively are answerable to those families who lose their loved ones because of our inaction.  When Americans are killed in mine disasters, we work to make mines safer.  When Americans are killed in floods and hurricanes, we make communities safer.  When roads are unsafe, we fix them to reduce auto fatalities.  We have seatbelt laws because we know it saves lives.  So the notion that gun violence is somehow different, that our freedom and our Constitution prohibits any modest regulation of how we use a deadly weapon, when there are law-abiding gun owners all across the country who could hunt and protect their families and do everything they do under such regulations doesn’t make sense.

So, tonight, as those of us who are lucky enough to hug our kids a little closer are thinking about the families who aren’t so fortunate, I’d ask the American people to think about how they can get our government to change these laws, and to save lives, and to let young people grow up.  And that will require a change of politics on this issue.  And it will require that the American people, individually, whether you are a Democrat or a Republican or an independent, when you decide to vote for somebody, are making a determination as to whether this cause of continuing death for innocent people should be a relevant factor in your decision.  If you think this is a problem, then you should expect your elected officials to reflect your views.

The daily reality of living or visiting in the United States is that whether going to the market, church, school mall,the moviesa coffee shop, or just walking down the street, there is a risk of being shot. For yourself, your children, your parents, your neighbors, friends and coworkers; everyone is at risk at anytime.  Just how long are we willing to stay ‘Comfortably Numb?

Update: December 6, 2015: Read an excellent piece today in the New York Times by Ross Douthat.   Here is the link. Liberalism’s Gun Problem Russ

 

Attached To The Rest Of The World

“When one tugs at a single thing in nature,
He finds it attached to the rest of the world.” ~ John Muir
Photo: JoHanna Massey
Photo: JoHanna Massey

Millions world wide are shocked, saddened, and frightened by the violence that has taken place in Paris. Hearts grieve for the people who have suffered the loss of loved ones, those who are injured, and for all whose lives will be forever changed by this event. There is gratitude to those who courageously have showed up, and continue to show up to assist and support those in need.

Many Native American tribes strive to live by the belief of                                   The Seven Generations.

David Wilkins in the Indian Country Today Media Network writes of Vine Deloria’s interpretation of this belief:

Deloria’s articulation of the Seven Generations makes so much more sense on a human scale and does away with the destructive myth of mystical, all seeing Natives. In truth, our peoples were visionary but not in a passive, new-age way. We actively tended our families and our clan-ties by holding the lives, memories, and hopes of all Seven Generations close. Each generation was responsible to teach, learn, and protect the three generations that had come before it, its own, and the next three. In this way, we maintained our communities for millennia.

As I  express my sorrow and condolences to the citizens of France, as law enforcement and government confer to come up with a strategy and response to this vicious attack, as we all individually and as a world community try to move forward with our days…
I offer The Seven Generations Principle. for consideration.
 

Today’s Music:  Peter Gabriel- Mercy Street

Comfortably Numb: The New American Normal?

Hello,
Is there anybody in there?
Just nod if you can hear me.
Is there anyone at home?
Comfortably Numb- Pink Floyd
 delton_556
The daily reality of living or visiting in the United States is that whether going to the market, church, school mall, the movies, a coffee shop, or just walking down the street, there is a risk of being shot.

 

It gives me no solace  to know that the President of the United States and I share a sense of ‘frustration” over  the gun violence in the United States. It is awful to hear the  adjectives “normal” and “routine.”  being used to describe the deaths and injuries  by guns in America.  The citizens of the United States are  referred to as “Numb” when it comes to being the collateral damage in the politics and profits of our weapons industry. The most recent mass school shooting at  Umpqua Community College, in Oregon  resulted in nine more individuals murdered and at least nine more injured by the gun fire.

I believed  following the Sandy Hook Elementary School, Newtown murders, where  a classroom of six and seven year old children ( and the staff trying to protect them,) were shot America had reached a  tipping point.  That the United States citizens would rally for change to the way we buy and sell guns.  This would be  the United States of America’s  watershed moment. I was so wrong.

There have been 142 School shootings since the Sandy Hook School murders.

Spend some time with your heart and mind with these numbers:

As of August 26, 2015 the United States  averages more than one mass shooting per day. A ‘mass shooting’ defined as a shooting with four or more victims. That is 238 days with 247 mass shootings. The number has increased to 294 since August.

15—The number of times during his presidency that Obama has made a statement about a mass shooting.

294 – The number of mass shootings (defined as when four or more people were injured or killed by a gun) in 2015.

45—The number of school shootings that have taken place in 2015.

142 – The number of school shootings since the 2012 massacre in Newtown, Connecticut.

9,957—The number of people who have been killed by gun violence this year.

20,269 – The number of people who have been injured by a firearm this year.

153,144—The number of people who were killed by homicide in which firearms were used between 2001 and 2013 (the last year that such data was available).

7—The number of children and teens who die every day, on average, from gun violence (Five are murdered and two kill themselves).

20– The number of times higher the homicide rate by guns is for Americans, compared to those who live in other developed countries.

President Obama tells us,  “There is a gun for roughly every man, woman, and child in America.” That is Three hundred and Twenty One Million, Eight Hundred Ninety One Thousand, Eight Hundred , Fifty Nine (321,891,859.)  guns.

Folded into  President Obama’s frustration, is the solution:

 

This is a political choice that we make to allow this to happen every few months in America.  We collectively are answerable to those families who lose their loved ones because of our inaction.  When Americans are killed in mine disasters, we work to make mines safer.  When Americans are killed in floods and hurricanes, we make communities safer.  When roads are unsafe, we fix them to reduce auto fatalities.  We have seatbelt laws because we know it saves lives.  So the notion that gun violence is somehow different, that our freedom and our Constitution prohibits any modest regulation of how we use a deadly weapon, when there are law-abiding gun owners all across the country who could hunt and protect their families and do everything they do under such regulations doesn’t make sense.

So, tonight, as those of us who are lucky enough to hug our kids a little closer are thinking about the families who aren’t so fortunate, I’d ask the American people to think about how they can get our government to change these laws, and to save lives, and to let young people grow up.  And that will require a change of politics on this issue.  And it will require that the American people, individually, whether you are a Democrat or a Republican or an independent, when you decide to vote for somebody, are making a determination as to whether this cause of continuing death for innocent people should be a relevant factor in your decision.  If you think this is a problem, then you should expect your elected officials to reflect your views.

The daily reality of living or visiting in the United States is that whether going to the market, church, school mall,the moviesa coffee shop, or just walking down the street, there is a risk of being shot. For yourself, your children, your parents, your neighbors, friends and coworkers; everyone is at risk at anytime.  Just how long are we willing to stay ‘Comfortably Numb?

Oak Creek Canyon: The Equivalent of Churchgoing

My father considered a walk among the mountains 

as the equivalent of churchgoing.

Aldoux Huxley

 

Woke up with a need for some churchgoing. Headed out to Oak Creek Canyon,  a long time sacrosanct place for me,   a place which had experienced some serious trouble while I was living in the South. The Canyon stretches between Flagstaff and Sedona for about twelve miles of a most scenic of routes.  Oak Creek runs along the bottom, an all seasons flowing  stream and tributary of the Verde River.

 

Hundreds of thousands of global  visitors come to Oak Creek Canyon, for camping, hiking, swimming, fishing, photography, or their own personal form and need of spiritual renewal. Others pass through traveling to Sedona from the Grand Canyon, or to the Grand Canyon from Sedona, white knuckle navigating the high canyon switchbacks, seeking a pullout to take their perfect vacation photos.

 

Now I knew it was a Saturday in summer and water is always  an attraction in the desert. And  I knew that Sedona was hosting it’s annual Cowboys Weekend.  I had no thoughts or expectations of anything but sharing Oak Creek Canyon with many others. Even as layperson,  I  knew many people were going to be showing up to get near the renewing water. The analogy of a very well attended service sits well.

 

The Canyon welcomed me with easy familiarity and recognition, the prodigal   daughter returned.

 

DSCN9899DSCN9901

DSCN9915
” Giant’s Mitten or Teapot Rock”
DSCN9916
“Camel Rock”
About 9:30 AM catching site of Midgley Bridge. Cars were already overflowing the parking area,  and even along the narrow shoulder of the roadway.

 

Now I admit to knowing where there used to be some very  carefully camouflaged  local knowledge only  paths to plunge into the baptism of ice cold deep water pools that Big Fish trout shared without fuss or flight. This was before GPS, cell phones, Sharing, and Links, and when these places were under a kind of unspoken local blessing and protection.
By the time we had passed Grasshopper Point and arrived at Slide Rock State Park, named one of America’s top ten state Parks, we realized with a gut punch the our beloved Canyon was in deep trouble again this year, only it is not fire scorching it to ruin.

 

While many  visitors  paid the fees that help maintain the parks, campgrounds,  and picnic ares, hundreds of vehicles lined both sides of the narrow road up the Canyon, filled the pullouts double and triple parking.
DSCN0183
DSCN9954

 

DSCN9955
Image result for no parking sign
Over and over, and then over and over once again groups of thirty or more people were  carting coolers, cases, umbrella’s tarps, boxes, fishing gear, babies, suitcases, diaper bags, plastic containers, bar b q’s, strollers, cell phones, inner tubes,  chairs, tables, pull behind wagons,  and plastic bags of ice down the narrow road to the now many public citizen created trails and paths along the creek. It was for me, an environmental Dark Night of The Soul.

 

 Maybe you weren’t born with a silver spoon in your mouth, but like every American, you carry a deed to 635 million acres of public lands. That’s right. Even if you don’t own a house or the latest computer on the market, you own Yosemite, Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon, Golden Gate National Recreation Area, and many other natural treasures.

John Garamen

I embrace John Garamendi’s words and believe them to be true. How do they reconcile with the numbers of people coming into Oak Creek Canyon on this Saturday morning in July? The ‘public lands’ they are enjoying do not have parking, trash cans, fire pits, potable water, and most important of all,   they do not have bathrooms.

 

The designated recreational areas in Oak Creek Canyon, and they are numerous, are designed around the carrying capacity of Oak Creek Canyon’s ecosystem. The carrying capacity being the number of people living and recreating, in addition to all the other plants, animals, birds, insects, amphibians, all living things that can be supported in an ecosystem without causing  degradation.
DSCN9972DSCN0019
DSCN9937DSCN9934

 

DSCN0225DSCN9981
 DSCN0095
Standing up at Oak Creek Vista  at the top of Oak Creek Canyon, you could not see one hint  of what was going on below.  It looked as pristine as the brochures and tourism promotions that abound.

 

How can the Canyon heal from the Slide Rock Fire with so many people flooding in and no longer using the designated recreational areas?  How can this beautiful unique ecosystem survive with even a semblance of health and vitality?
I think first of all, people need to know what is actually happening to  Oak Creek Canyon. The shock, futility and sadness that I felt  at seeing such disrespect for this hallowed area, gave way to my belief that giving up and giving in to it’s demise is not an option. With proper management and respect and a zero tolerance for violating the creek while continuing to provide the recreational areas so many use, Oak Creek Canyon will not only survive but thrive and be available to the next generations.

 

I encourage you to watch this slice of what the Mornings After look like up in Oak Creek Canyon. What 3,736 pounds of trash, 2,041 pounds of recycles, 260 pounds of feces, 69 diapers, The Oak Creek Watershed Council has made this excellent short film:
                                          Loved to Death

 

Then get involved. Whether you live in the Verde Valley area, or are one of the hundreds of thousands of visitors who come to enjoy or who have enjoyed in the past  the Oak Creek Canyon, let your voice be heard that Oak Creek Canyon should be saved.
Steps you can take:

 

Practice:  Leave No Trace
Join or support the Oak Creek Watershed Council,
Friends of The Forest or your organization of choice that is committed
to preserving and protecting the integrity of this or any watershed, and is at ground zero with boots on the ground doing the dirty work of cleaning up, restoration, public education, research, and water sampling.

 

and the Sedona Chamber of Commerce. Let them know that Oak Creek Canyon matters for recreational, spiritual, and economic and environmental reasons.

&nsbp;

 And if you are a praying person, now would be the time.
DSCN0294DSCN9920DSCN0216DSCN9981
It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth. I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth. I didn’t feel like a giant. I felt very, very small.
Neil Armstrong