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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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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But Here In America

It’s heartbreaking
That so many hundreds of millions
Of people around the world
Are desperate for the right to vote,
But here in America
People stay home on election day.
Moby

This joy of photographing Flagstaff Arizona Murals and sharing them with you  appears to be unfolding as an occasional series. Traveled up Oak Creek Canyon where the creek-side trees are just catching the eye to signal the Foliage change has begun, but still leaning towards green. Everything is fresh and clean from recent rains, and the fire risk has lowered. There are apples for sale at Slide Rock and Indian Gardens, and the best cider ever.

The Sound of Flight, this month’s  photo essay is located on the east wall of the Orpheum Theater above Aspen Street, in Flagstaff Arizona. It is expansive, a great big bursting with color and detail, two stories flowing into one beauty of a painting.  Claimed to be the largest mural in the state of Arizona. A two full years to plan, finance, and create by Sky Black and the Mural Mice,  R.E. Wall and Margaret Dewar.  So much talented creativity joined and expressed through 150 gallons of high end acrylic paint, millions of brush strokes, on a four thousand five hundred foot space. Yes, that is individual brush strokes.

The opening portion of the mural completed in 2014, shows a large grand piano , it’s top thrown open and many species of birds surging out from the inside, then on into full flight across the wall. The choice of beginning with a grand piano on the  Orpheum Theaters exterior  acknowledges it as a place of performance and the arts.

Sound of Flight- Sky Black and Mural Mice- Autumn 2018

The birds flow out of the piano as would musical notes, and as I stood at a distance gazing, I could see their movement and flight. Up close every perfectly proportion detail adding to the flock. A symphony of birds.

In 2015 a second portion was added, again with the continued generous support of the Flagstaff Community in support of public art for everyone.  There is  Michelangelo’s “David” accompanied by the Lady In Red Muse as well as many small details that are personally significant to someone in the Flagstaff community whether as a sponsored ‘in memory of’ bird or actually painted by a community member.

“The Thinker”  leads the eye on a journey into the Canyon Lands on the southern edge. The gray wolf featured is  Echo, found in the Grand Canyon, part of the Grand Canyon Wolf Recovery Project.

There is humor, irony and mischief within the landscapes, and I will leave it to you to find them or create new ones for yourself. There are some images that for me are just plain whimsical and wonderful.

“Sound of Flight” Flagstaff Arizona, USA- Sky Black, R. E. Wall, Margaret Dewer-Autumn 2018

If you are traveling towards or through Flagstaff Arizona, or if you are living close enough by and have never taken the opportunity to view “Sounds of Flight” it is  definitely worth a walk about to see this stunning piece of artwork. Two other murals in Flagstaff I have written about:The Mother Road: Route 66,  Nothing Is Inevitable Here,

Thank you to the Artists, The Flagstaff Arts Council the Flagstaff Business Community, as well as everyone who helped make this beautiful mural available to the public, to be enjoyed by everyone.

A safe, peaceful, prosperous, and creative month of November to each and everyone of you. Your showing up and support of my website JoHannaMassey.com is greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Music: Everybody Wants To Rule The World- Tears for Fears

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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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Sitting On Blisters

“Elections belong to the people.
It’s their decision
If they decide
To turn their back on the fire
And burn their behinds,
Then they will just have to sit
On their blisters.”
― Abraham Lincoln

 

Chose Uptown Sedona for a Summer Morning Walkabout.

It’s cool, quiet, and deserted except for an occasional person preparing to open the doors to display wares and services, or an early morning delivery truck.

These remind me of ” Tewa or Koyala ” a Rio Grande Clown that is often seen in Hopi Mesas. They are known for their boisterous conversations, immoderate actions, and gluttony. I’ve seen these tricksters around Sedona for many years. In fact I saw them in Phoenix on Saturday.

 

Check in on my familiar cornerstones.  These bronzes have graced Uptown for some years now bearing graceful witness of all who have passed by.

With Signage mostly ignored.

There’s the whimsical, the fanciful, and the ironic art.

And way too much signage.

From ‘view’ areas I pause to look at the red rock beauties , exposing some  three hundred and thirty million years of a rip roaring geological story right in my face. They provide me a great deal of reassurance with their familiarity and resilience, yet they constantly remind with their time storied stratum, change is constant. I never tire of spending time climbing over them and along the trails.

But this morning I walk Uptown. Those Red Rock Spirals,  and well funded marketing campaigns, bring millions of people globally to Sedona every year.

It’s very dry this summer with no promise of rain. Stage Three Fire Restrictions in effect.

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The morning moves forward, the temperatures begin to rise. a few stores are opening their doors. Time to go. A lovely  quiet walk about, a loaf of bread from Wildflower, and some photos to share with you.

A safe and engaged month of July to each and everyone of you no matter from where on the globe you read this.

 

It Saves Going To Heaven

I hope you love birds too.
It is economical.
It saves going to heaven.
Emily Dickinson

 

Important March Events: 

March 8th: International  Women’s Day ‘ Now, more than ever, there’s a strong call-to-action to press forward and progress gender parity. There’s a strong call to #PressforProgress motivating and uniting friends, colleagues and whole communities to think, act and be gender inclusive.’

Spring Equinox – March 20- On the day of an equinox, daytime and nighttime are of approximately equal duration all over the planet. Not exactly equal, due to the angular size of the Sun and atmospheric refraction. The word is derived from the Latin aequinoctium, from aequus (equal) and nox (genitive noctis) (night). For me it is another turn of the seasons, and already the sun is setting later behind the townhouse.

“March for Our Lives” will take place on March 24, 2018 in Washington DC, as well as with ‘sister marches’ in major cities across the United States. Organized by survivors of the school massacre in Parkland, Fla. to rally against the continuing mass shootings taking place in our country. The event will include “student speakers, musical performers, guest speakers and video tributes,” according to the National Park Service permit application, with 14 Jumbotrons and 2,000 chairs, and an expectation of 500,000 participants.

However, the Washington Post reported this morning that the ‘March for Our Lives’ application to the Park Service for use of the National Mall,  was bounced by an application by a  “a student group at a local educational institution. The film crew’s plans listed equipment such as two tables, two bikes and jump ropes.”

I suggest and believe that it will not be so easy for the current individuals who hold office in the U.S. House of Representatives, Senate, and Trump White House Administration to squelch an American populace of young people coming up (and the people who love them), that refuse to be at risk of  slaughter by assault weapons, simply because they desire an education and attend schools in the United States.

 A safe and peaceful month of March..to each and everyone.

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.