Songs Too Sweet and Wild

“Some birds are not meant to be caged, that’s all.
Their feathers are too bright, their songs too sweet and wild
So you let them go,
Or when you open the cage to feed them
They somehow fly out past you
And the part of you that knows it was wrong
To imprison them in the first place rejoices,
But still, the place where you live
Is that much more drab
And empty for their departure.”
 Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption:
A Story from Different Seasons-Steven KIng

Red-tailed Hawk (buteo Jamaicensis)- Verde Valley Arizona USA – JoHanna

Pleased to share with you some of the birds I have captured with the camera lens in these past few weeks. May peace, love,  freedom, be Yours this month of February. Thank you for stopping by for a visit. Your support of my website is valued and appreciated.

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What Remains?

After you have exhausted what there is
In business, politics, conviviality, and so on
Have found that none of these finally satisfy,
Or permanently wear
What remains? Nature remains.
Walt Whitman- Song of Myself

Deadman’s Pass in Boynton Canyon,  Sedona Arizona is quiet in the morning. A walk-a-bout more than a hike, a connecting path between Boynton Canyon and  Long Canyon.  Good to be out in the clean clear air while frost is on the thick stands of manzanita and the deer and birds show themselves.

Hot Loop Trail, located off Jacks Canyon Road in the Village of Oak Creek, Sedona Arizona is a favorite.  Sharing A Hike On  Hot Loop While Old  provides an appreciation, such gratitude  on still having the strength, agility, and wits about me to make the thousand foot climb upward to views that are stand up straight shoulder squaring.   No other hikers but us the entire trek, which is excellent, considering the heavy density of use on so many of Sedona’s trails. The peace, quiet, and bird song, as well as that physical workout deeply energize. An ace choice of hiking trails for the New Year of 2019.

Carroll Canyon, Old Post, and the Ridge Trails are very much ‘in town’,  neighborhood trails. Quick access to outdoors whether on a lunch break from employment at a close by coffee shop, a break for a take away slice or tamale picnic in a day of errands, or out for establishing that exercise every morning routine.  There is activity here. Noise from the sky from the tourist helicopter tours taking off and landing from nearby Sedona Airport,  mountain bike enthusiasts enjoy these trails for their proximity to bike rentals, but then there will be a stretch of quiet time, red rock beauties, solitude, and flowers blooming in winter, or  a red tailed hawk swooping deep through Carroll Canyon to surprise and delight and elude the camera lens.

 The holidays over, the family and friends returned home or traveled on, decorations packed away and fond memories held onto. To Mescal Trail one of the most beautiful areas in Sedona, and one we enjoy in the winter. There was an observation made over the holidays that my website often made it seem as though we were the only ones out hiking in Sedona and that their recent traffic jammed up tight experiences between the Village of Oak Creek and Sedona said otherwise. It was an accurate observation.

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The slideshow above is a  sample of what ‘peopling’ a Sedona Arizona photo essay looks look like. A visual ‘loved to death’ scenario unfolding all around Mescal Trail and much of the area this week as thousands of tourists finish off 2018 in Sedona Arizona.  Clearly we are not the only ones who have chosen to welcome the New Year with being out in nature.

My  personal New Years Resolution is to spend as many days as possible outside in nature.  These three beautiful hiking trails and a walk about recently have reinforced to me that I have made a most excellent choice, a totally enjoyable commitment for 2019.

Thank you for visiting. All my best to each and every one of you for this New Year of 2019.

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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