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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Music: Marvin Gaye- What’s Going On

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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.

Music: Boz Scaggs

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.

News/ Music: Ohio- Crosby Stills Nash & Young

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.

The Best Thing

“Those who have never known the deep intimacy
And the intense companionship
Of happy mutual love
Have missed the best thing
That life has to give.”
Bertrand Russell

With local knowledge‘ is no longer holding, as the usual weather for this time of the year stalls midst Indian Summer and Winter.  Enough to notice, and choose hiking trails differently.

Doe Mountain #60 (which is actually a mesa),  is a favorite Late Spring/Summer  hike as the trail is shaded and cool for the better part of the day. Except here we are in February, getting to the trail-head by paved road, to a busy, heavily info/warning/and restriction signage, filling with vehicles parking area.

Doe Mountain from Mescal Trail

Reminiscing as life long companions do…..about back in the day when the pavement ended miles ago, the road maintenance was a grating once a year, and the dust, Greasy Spoon red mud, flash flooding, long horned steers, rattlesnakes, or sky big wildness of it all, kept just about everyone back on Dry Creek Road but the Tour Guides jeeping tourists out to the Honanki and Palatki Ruins;  or the Bradshaws in the midst of their ranching day. Doe Mountain is a fee service area now, your credit cards welcomed on site for convenience…..

What does remain unchanged is the Red Rock formations and the great good time of hiking and climbing them. Today it is to the top of the Doe for a picnic lunch with a view.

The less than mile climb up Doe Mountain is not difficult, nor is it a long one. I did pack the camera away for most of the way… needing  my hands, feet, and attention choosing wisely together for the series of quick switchbacks  that rise four hundred feet to the top. It is good to pause periodically on firm footing and take a good look around.

From the top you can see a lot of why so many global citizens come to Sedona, or why we have returned this sunny, warm, stark blue sky day to one of our favorite places to just sit in gratitude, lunch, then  sprawl out in lizard pose to embrace it all while the penetrating heat of the sun warm red rocks flows in through bare skin.

An easy  hike about the top mesa  shows views of  Bear, Maroon, and Wilson mountains, Loy, Boynton, and Secret Canyons, Chimney Rock, and the Cockscomb.  Sedona is visible to the east and off to the south, Munds Mountain and Sycamore Pass, with heart  teasing  views of the Valley floor below.

An excellent choice for locals and visitors alike, for it’s easy access paved from town clear to the trail-head , excellent views and photo opportunities, a just high enough change in altitude to get an expanded look and new perspective of where you are, and with deep tissue warming rocks included at no additional fee.

Length: 0.7 miles to the top of the mesa, 1.3 miles around the edge.

If your go:
Let someone who is not hiking with you know where you are going.
Choose  sturdy already broken in foot-gear, avoid girly sandals or bare-feet, and remember a low center of gravity is your friend. Black clothing absorbs the sun-rays, you can overheat over a poor wardrobe choice.
A couple bottles of water per person.
A dandy take away from one of the many local eateries.
Turn your cell phone off.

And you are looking at the opportunity to enjoy a the Perfect Sedona Day.

Do you want or need a Tour Guide? That’s a question only individuals can ask and answer for themselves. And for me to use to promote  Krista Stevens idea for this  Weeks WordPress Photo Challenge: Tour Guide.

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Peace and Blessings to each and everyone. Have an excellent weekend.

News/Music

“Curiouser and Curiouser”

“Curiouser and Curiouser.”
― Lewis Carroll,
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
& Through the Looking-Glass

What fun to look back through the year’s photographs. So many ‘favorites’ and the opportunity to pause and recall many an excellent moment from this almost gone year. Have enjoyed sharing so many of those moments through photographs with you.

In response to  Word Press Photo Challenge: 2017 Favorites

News/Music: Fatboy Slim: Weapon of Choice, The Worst Antiscience BS in 2017-MOther Jones

 

Wherever I Am Going

‘Peace in my Heart.
Peace on my Soul
Wherever I am going,
I’m already Home.’-

A safe and peaceful weekend to each and everyone.

In response to WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Ascend

Oxford American Writer’s Thesaurus:

Ascend: verb ascending the stairs | we watched the missiles ascend: climb, go up/upward, move up/upward, rise (up), clamber (up); mount, scale, conquer; take to the air, take off; rocket. ANTONYMS descend.

Music/News:  David Bowie- Rocketman- New York Times- Harry Reid Wants To Believe