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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‘Nothing Is Inevitable Here’

Do not despair of our present difficulties,
Believe always in the promise and greatness of America,
Because nothing is inevitable here
Americans never quit.
We never surrender.
We never hide from history.
We make history.
Farewell, fellow Americans.
God Bless You, and God Bless America.
Senator John McCain, Cornville Arizona

Sunrise in Cornville Arizona. Monsoon lingers in the Verde Valley,  clearing the smoke from this seasons  wildfires, replacing it with the smell of the creosote bush, cypress, mesquite, and juniper trees. Though the official first day of autumn here is weeks away, the punch of summer heat is gone, the mornings cool and inviting once again. The hummingbirds that will leave soon, create a worried melodrama at the feeders. Serious consumption for upcoming migration south of the border calorie burn. 

An early morning drive up Oak Creek Canyon to Flagstaff for a browse around, Thai food, and then coffee at the booksellers. After, a good long look and photo taking time with two very different public murals.

The City of Flagstaff grows more attractive whenever we visit, the diversity and optimism of being a college town is lightly visceral one moment, smart and thought provoking the next. The Public Arts Commission supports and encourages  public art. I  adore the wall murals, am fortunate to have the time and opportunity to photograph,  and am appreciative to Flagstaff for offering them to everyone equally.  Pleased to now share those photos with you:
Victorian Citizens are shown in the “Piano Room”  mural at the  Leroux Street Parking lot at the former Speakeasy Bar. It was painted by Sage, Jill and Dan Drilevich and Ricco Distefan in 2010.

The woman depicted on the left resembles Gustav Klimt’s 1907 portrait called “Adele Bloch-Bauer I.” That artwork sold in 2006 for $135 million. Familiar to many from the film Woman In Gold, starring Helen Mirren.

The second mural  we visited depicts a much different theme and time period:

Mural Joe painted the True Blue mural in downtown Flagstaff that honors some of the aspects of Northern Arizona University and the NAU Lumberjack.

Entire mural is quite striking and each scene tells it’s own story while flowing smoothly into the next.

Located a youtube video of the artist creating the mural.  Provides an inside look in the creating art on such a large scale and unconventional ‘canvas.’

It is family, friends, the arts, music, books, and nature that I seek out to balance the continued divisive and unsettled times globally. Days long media breaks, a catch up with the Sunday Times.  Liberally self prescribing doses of activism on getting the vote out in my own country (America) for the upcoming  Midterm Elections on November 6, 2018. Prescribed in response to anxiety and concern over what my country and yours, our shared global community  will look like in ten or twenty or thirty years from now.  What opportunities, choices, potable water, breathable air, education, and liberties will be available to the Grandchildren coming up into their adulthood.  Mine, yours, everyone’s Grandchildren.

Been taking the camera along, it’s familiar presence a gentle reminder to slow it down and pay attention.  To notice and appreciate the delicious light filled length, variety, expansiveness of a given summer day in the high desert. The photos above are some favorites of the summer,  the slideshow below showing the difficulty I have choosing favorites.

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Thank you for your support and interest in my photo essays. Wishing each and everyone of you  a safe, prosperous, and engaged month of September.

Music: Aretha Franklin:  Think- Natural Woman

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“Some Words Are Wind, Sir. Some Are Treason.” -George R. R. Martin

“Some Words Are Wind, Sir
Some Are Treason.”
George R. R. Martin- A Knight Of The Seven Kingdoms

 

 

Been wanting to get up to Walnut Canyon for awhile. Monsoon arrived with enough rain that the fire restrictions on the Parks, Forests, and Walnut Canyon were lifted and……We were out the door, with a quick stop for socks and bootlaces…. then the drive upward,  from Sedona to the top of Oak Creek Canyon.  On the edge, now,  of the Colorado Plateau. By the time we reach Flagstaff we are  six thousand nine hundred and ten feet’s worth of higher than sea level. The air is cool, clear, and crisp. Scented with freshly rain bathed  Ponderosa Pine, Firs, Cypress, and Juniper Trees. Worth coming up here just to breathe the air.

 

Walnut Canyon National Monument is Nine miles east of Flagstaff Arizona, on Route 40, heading towards Albuquerque New Mexico in the United States. Walnut Canyon National Monument offers visitors real insight at the value and importance of citizen participation and a United American Voice in protecting our National Monuments. There is a visitor’s  center, gift shop, two trails to view the ruins, and to get  close up and personal with the Canyon.

 

In the 1800’s it was quite a legal and popular activity to loot the land and stuff of the people who came before them.  Walnut Canyon was rich in the stuff of the daily routines of  former cultures, and many a  individual and group,  carted them off to have impressive conversation pieces in their homes, or to sell, trade, barter, to stash away art on speculation of increasing value, or to display in collections. Much damage and destruction resulted in addition to the loss of the treasure.

Walnut Canyon  is a seductress with it’s depth, textures, the way the light plays and teases, the silence, and the slowly revealed backstory of people, geology, ecosystems.  The treasure. The local people loved the Canyon; were outraged by the exploitation.

They appealed to the United States Government for assistance in preserving Walnut Canyon for all to enjoy, and on November 30, 1915 United States President Woodrow Wilson declared Walnut Canyon a National Monument. To be preserved, maintained, and available to the public worldwide to love, appreciate, and enjoy. In 2016 one hundred and fifty two thousand global visitors came to Walnut Canyon.

 

Walnut Canyon shelters and protects dwellings over eight hundred years old. Tucked along the cliffs, using the overhangs and recesses as waterproof walls and ceilings.  Only a few are pictured here, there are many to view and a very real sense of how large and interconnected a community the people who lived here were with one another.

 

Artifacts from the daily lives of the Archaic people who traveled through the southwest seasonally  Thousands of years ago have been located here in Walnut Canyon.

Sinaqua  (Spanish for ‘people without water’)  arrived to the Flagstaff area approximately One Thousand Four Hundred years ago. They were primarily dry farmers, attracted to this area by the fertile soil, plants, and wildlife. The cliffs were a safe place to  live,  with the women doing the majority of the construction of the dwellings.  The Sinaqua  left the area, leaving behind  many of their homes, artwork, tools, possessions, and household items behind.

 

The dwellings line both sides of Walnut Canyon, about one hundred and eighty five foot down from the top. It allows the mind to open even more to idea of a community of people, and to experience exquisite nature quiet of  the breeze in the trees, the call of birds, and an occasional falling rock.

 

There are engaging very well organized and executed series of displays along the trail. Worth reading and considering.  They fill in the gaps of  detail for the imagination to create a rich and full vivid imagery of what a day looked like from where I am now stand now, on the cliffs edge. The displays don’t intrude.

 

There are big views, the kind that stop me  mid-step and call my attention in silent reverence to just how big and grand it all is.  Striations on the gray rock above showing changes in the direction of the wind for the past millions years. Simply magic.

 

And then there is the sound of a deep throated thunder growl rolling  down  in the Canyon and coming on fast and close, rushing on past calling out the news of coming weather.

We heed the warning, climb the two hundred forty steep vertical steps to the Rim of the Canyon,  and soon we are on way to Flagstaff for lunch, just as the storm arrives quite dramatically with big sky lightning, thunder, and solid serious rain.

There are currently 129 designated National Monuments in the United States. There is change afoot, seeking to undo a commitment made One Hundred and Twelve Years ago to protect rare wildlife habitat, Native American Archaeological ruin,  unique environments worthy of preservation and/or study.  Historic landmarks, historic and prehistoric structures, and other objects of historic or scientific interest coast to coast are at risk.

These are the United States of America’s  best loved and valuable places that have been enjoyed and shared for many generations with the commitment to keep them safe for generations going forward.

Reflecting a change of policy and purpose,  the U.S. Department of the Interior has targeted 27 National Monuments  for ‘review’, change in designation and use.  These proposals  will shrink the boundaries, reduce the protections, and open up permitting for formerly prohibited activities.  Over 100,000 acres of well loved, protected, and valued National Monuments at risk.

I believe that, like the public who spoke up to protect Walnut Canyon so many years ago, that the people continue to value and want protections of their National Monuments. May our voices be heard.

A safe, engaged, and prosperous August to each and everyone of you.

Music: Boz Scaggs

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Do Not Tell Fish Stories

Do not tell fish stories where the people know you;
But particularly,
Don’t tell them where they know the fish.
Mark Twain

A simply delightful pause with a walk about, and take away picnic lunch  at Page Spring  Fish Hatchery.

Page Springs Fish Hatchery, named for the Page family that first established the hatchery in the 1930’s, is now managed by the Hatchery Program of the Arizona Fish, Game, and Wildlife, an agency of the State of Arizona’s government. The Hatchery is approximately 190 Acres and includes two parcels of land:  Page Springs Hatchery and Bubbling Ponds Hatchery.  

In 1990-91 the Hatchery was renovated into  a showcase facility featuring raceways, canopies, a visitor center, and a self-guided tour path. The Audubon Society identified habitat at the hatcheries and riparian area along lower Oak Creek as an Important Bird Area (IBA), and it draws thousands of visitors to view the wildlife or like us, a quiet watery respite.

There is a Showpond where visitors are encouraged to feed the fish. Bring quarters, and don’t forget to sign the guestbook. The sound of the flowing water is big in this area and quite wonderful, the pond crystal clear and the fish healthy and enthusiastic. I enjoyed photographing the mural and could not find who had done the work, obviously enjoying themselves in the detail and variety of critters featured.

 

The Visitor Center has an engaging display of area wildlife, including some beauties of bird photography in an exhibit by Audubon, and of course a large volume of information on the Hatchery and fishing in Arizona displayed well and quite interesting.

A few Hatchery Facts:

The Hatchery raises rainbow and brown trout. They grow about an inch per month, take less than a year to reach catch-able size.

Fed high protein diet.

Hatchery does not keep brood fish. They get their fingerlings from Silver Springs Hatchery in Oak Creek Canyon.

The Hatchery stocks around 600 to 700 hundred thousand fish per year, in rivers, streams, and lakes year round throughout the entire state of Arizona. The Hatchery is the largest in the State of Arizona and supplies 60% of the rainbow trout that are raised by State Hatcheries.

There is a short hiking trail, and once you leave the Hatchery you may be interested in one of the many tasting rooms as the area boasts  excellent wineries, the vineyards quite beautiful to behold.

A safe and peaceful June to each and everyone.

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With The Noise Of It

When the green woods laugh
With the voice of joy,
And the dimpling stream
Runs laughing by;
When the air does laugh
With our merry wit,
And the green hill laughs
With the noise of it.
William Blake

Being near cold flowing water, with an overhang of trees  is where I feel most whole and in grace. These strips of riparian paradise exist Worldwide, each unique and mesmerizing. No matter where we wander, there is a familiarity, recognition, and welcome in the rivers, streams, and creeks.   Especially when shared, the truly best kind of days. Perhaps a past or future as fish. This stretch of Beaver Creek has been a favorite for twenty five and some years, and I am happy to provide you a look about with these photos as my submission for  WordPress Photo Challenge theme of Place In The World.

 Inspiration for this weeks Challenge – Erica V 

For this week’s photo challenge, explore what it means to find your place in the world. Where’s your safe space? Where do you go when you need to feel inspired or cheered up? Let loose and give us a glimpse of who you are in the grand scheme of things.

All my best to Each and Everyone.

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Music: Pete Seegar Sail Up & Down The River

Who Chose Passion Over Security

Grandmothers

She had Grandmothers
Who tried to forget.

She had Grandmothers
Who longed to remember.

She had Grandmothers
Who shipped their infant
in a shoebox
To a childless sister in Sanpete County
With a note:
“Sorry to trouble you, but he don’t want kids right now.”

She had Grandmothers
Who were desperate from betrayal and
Killed themselves by diving

Head-first into a rain barrel
After carefully placing their glasses
On a clean hankie.

She had Grandmothers
Who left the pots and pans
To ‘soak’ under the lilac bush.

She had Grandmothers
Who took early retirement,
Who chose passion over security,
To make time for an affair
With a childhood sweetheart.

She had Grandmothers
Who joyfully greeted the dawn.

She had Grandmothers
Who braced themselves for the day
With valium, coffee and TV news.

She had Grandmothers
Who were uprooted by their grown children
And moved to an old

Barrack on the edge
Of a windswept nowhere
Where she spent twenty years
Sipping Black Jack Daniels and
Reading condensed editions of books.

She had Grandmothers
Who loved other women openly
And with devotion and she had

Grandmothers who did not speak,
Even to their daughters,
Of their love of women.

She had Grandmothers
With ample pensions who moved
To a retirement village
Where a dark haired young woman reminded her
To take her pills
And where someone came twice a month
To clean the wall of mirrors
That made her room look bigger

She had Grandmothers
Who loved the smell of babies and bacon,
And of coffee, oranges at Christmas,
Wet horses in the rain, and men.

She had Grandmothers
Who trailed the scent
Of rosewater, whiskey, and coal oil.

She had Grandmothers
Who reeked of smoke and patchouli.

She had Grandmothers
Who were beaten, berated, and betrayed
By their daughters.
She had Grandmothers
Who were raped by their sons-in-law.
She had Grandmothers
Who seduced their sons and their nephews.

She had Grandmothers who read out loud
And who sat on the stoop and taught the children,
Even the boys,
How to thread strings of lilac.
She had Grandmothers
Whose grief and pain was bottomless.

She had Grandmothers
Whose laugh was contagious.

She had Grandmothers
Who left Sweden, who left Scotland, who left Wales.

She had Grandmothers who were born, lived
And died in one time zone.

She had Grandmothers
Whose brains and blood were splattered
In the snow and on car windshields
In the supermarket parking lot
On the day her husband
Was served the restraining order
And came and shot her in the head.

She had Grandmothers who packed imaginary bags
To take imaginary trips to visit people
Who had died 40 years ago.

She had Grandmothers who were vegetarian.
She had Grandmothers who were Unitarian.
She had Grandmothers
Who slowly drank warm water for their constitution
And she had Grandmothers
Who snorted cocaine.

She had Grandmothers who played cards
With the same group of women
Once a month for thirty years
Who called themselves the “humbugs”
Who didn’t know that they were a “moon lodge”
And never once called into the four directions.

She had Grandmothers
Who tried to forget.

She had Grandmothers
Who tried to remember.

She had Grandmothers who said
We would be better off not knowing.

She had Grandmothers
Who whispered lies.

Julien Puzey
Spring Eqinox 1998

On this day we honor our Mothers, I share this favorite poem by Julien Puzey.  I chose the Argentine Giant Cacti during flowering for the accompanying  photos as this delicate bloomed but tough, resilient, often prickly cacti reminds me of the Mothers , Daughters, Sisters, Grandmothers, Nieces, Cousins, and Aunts within my own family. For generations, a fair bunch of rascally women if ever there has been one. Proud of, Grateful to Each and Every One. Happy Mothers Day!

 

 News/Music: Lady Madonna- Beatles

One Against Another

There are no lines in nature,
Only areas of color,
One against another.

Definitely an Oriole, perhaps a Scott’s or a Bullock’s, or the elusive Sweet Toothed Blonde Big Mouth.  A loud brash vocal arrival and flash of brilliant yellow.  A hint of gold. Scolding me from his perch in the trees, to the roof, then the hedge, wanting both the hummingbirds and me to go. He wants the garden and the sugared water to himself. Behavior of a youthful starling, all brass and daring. I admire his energy, determination, and persistence. At stalemate, he decides to scatter the hummingbirds and ignore me.  Very soon Peregrine will arrive to hunt the afternoon shadows in the garden. Oriole does not know that, and once establishing himself at the bar, his sugar high binge drinking begins in earnest.

In response to the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Lines-  In the Oriole’s coming for your face photo above, the camera caught the flared movement of the wings blurring the detail of the feather’s colors, creating accentuating lines along the wings. In the slideshow below I included the same photo with a black and white filter which made the lines of flight even more dominate. This was a Happy Dance capture with the camera moment for me. The second time the Nikon Coolpix L830 pushed beyond  her limits and caught bird flight succinctly.

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Wishing Each and Every One of You a safe, joyful, prosperous, and peace filled Month of May.