Today’s Breaking News

“You used to ride on the chrome horse with your diplomat
Who carried on his shoulder a Siamese cat
Ain’t it hard when you discover that
He really wasn’t where it’s at
After he took from you everything he could steal.-”
Like A Rolling Stone- Bob Dylan

Today’s Breaking News: 

Having voted early by mail I skipped both the latest ‘soft launch’ of  Trump TV and the third and last United States Presidential debates, both which aired in the same evening this week.

The townhouse is a clutter with Halloween decorations, the neighborhood flush with political and property For Sale signs. Familial holiday plans are  made, and  people are misbehaving in Walmart. The color and mood of tourists and residents alike is pulsing purple, as Arizona goes  Red to Blue. and JoHannaMassey.com has just over 1000 followers.

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Talk about making Granny happy! Thank you so much. I enjoy creating this space. Even more, I love being able  to connect globally with so many interesting people and learn of their lives, interact, and watch their own websites grow and thrive.  It is pure magic. A gift I never considered even possible for most of my life as the technology did not exist.

Two new bookshelves, only a few more boxes until I am unpacked, five pots of privet to grow out to learn topiary, reading The Art of War- Sun Tzu- the Thomas Cleary  hard copy translation, A Reporter’s Life by Walter Cronkite.  Evenings with old Woody Allen movies, Hollywood Ending, and Broadway Danny Rose up next for shared  viewing pleasure. Giving

Bob Dylan another listen, and had quite forgotten just how much I enjoyed some of his music, or how globally relevant it feels today.

Binge  hiking, the weather and availability of so many places to explore making it impossible to remain indoors. Photographing  hikes, being inspired and invigorated by entire days spent with nature. I am  excited to share in a separate photo essay  what was a colorful day out and about yesterday, up Oak Creek Canyon to the Snowbowl to photograph the fall foliage.  Been embracing every moment in a stretch of perfect days.

And again, thank you for your part in making JoHannaMassey.com such a  success. All my best to you. Be safe and have a peaceful week coming.

You can find the photo essay on our day out from Oak Creek Canyon to the Snowbowl here:  Stretching Cycles of Years

 

 

When Great Trees Fall

“When Great Trees Fall”

Mogollon Rim: Photo by: JoHanna Massey

When great trees fall,
rocks on distant hills shudder,
lions hunker down
in tall grasses,
and even elephants
lumber after safety.

When great trees fall
in forests,
small things recoil into silence,
their senses
eroded beyond fear.

Ponderosa Pine Mogollon Rim Photo: JoHanna Massey

When great souls die,
the air around us becomes
light, rare, sterile.
We breathe, briefly.
Our eyes, briefly,
see with
a hurtful clarity.
Our memory, suddenly sharpened,
examines,
gnaws on kind words
unsaid,
promised walks
never taken.

Great souls die and
our reality, bound to
them, takes leave of us.
Our souls,
dependent upon their
nurture,
now shrink, wizened.
Our minds, formed
and informed by their
radiance,
fall away.
We are not so much maddened
as reduced to the unutterable ignorance
of dark, cold
caves.

Mogollon Rim Photo by: JoHanna Massey

And when great souls die,
after a period peace blooms,
slowly and always
irregularly. Spaces fill
with a kind of
soothing electric vibration.
Our senses, restored, never
to be the same, whisper to us.
They existed. They existed.
We can be. Be and be
better. For they existed.”
― Maya Angelou

 

 

 

I had difficulty knowing what to publish following the writing, posting, and response I received to Comfortably Numb: America’s New Normal . I had experienced a similar difficulty following the writing, posting, and response to 3 Lists: 60 Million Refugees Big serious topics.  Hard to return to the lighthearted affirming cheerfulness I try to create on my website, strive to  live in my daily life.  What I am finding though, is that this website is rather unfolding as life does.  My thoughts run today to  the families, friends, and community of those who lost their lives and were injured at  Umpqua Community College in  Roseberg Oregon.

Todays Music:  Shaking the Tree: Peter Gabriel

Photos: “Mogollon Rim Ponderosa Pine”   JoHanna Massey

Camera Lucida: The Sign

“Raven was not thought of as a god. He was thought of as the transformer, the trickster. He was the being that changed things—sometimes quite by accident, sometimes on purpose.”
—Christian White, Haida artist

Julia at My Red Page has chosen The Sign for this weeks theme for          Camera Lucida, her ever growing in popularity and participation photo challenge.

This week’s theme: The Sign

  1. an object, quality, or event whose presence or occurrence indicates the probable presence or occurrence of something else.
  2. a gesture or action used to convey information or an instruction.
  3. a notice on public display that gives information or instructions in a written or symbolic form.

Your challenge this week is to take a photo of a sign that gets your focus, something out of the ordinary or just a snapshot of ‘the simple’ from a new perspective.

Here is my entry:

DSCN0419Arriving home

To Ravens.

On the roof

Announcing

Not just the season

Was gonna change.

 

 

Don’t you think it is time you stopped on over to My Red Page and joined Camera Lucida.?

Peace and Blessings to all.

Today’s Music: Joni Mitchell “Black Crow”

The Almost Moon by Alice Sebold

“When all is said and done, killing my mother came easily.”       Helen

What does a reader do with that kind of opening line? There is no risk of giving away the plot to this book to you, because Alice Sebold gives it all away on every page. This book grabbed me up, shoved me deep into the ragged Lazyboy recliner, and summarily cancelled my carefully planned day.

I had no intention of reading this book. I did not enjoy The Lovely Bones, skipped Lucky entirely, and only hauled The Almost Moon home because I got it for a quarter at my libraries book-sale.

I was jerked inside of our narrator Helen’s racing mind and activities for a slice of life twenty four hours of a reality made terrifying because she appears to articulates in searing observations such a clarity and insight  about parenting, friends, fathers, marriage, neighbors and communities, and especially her mother. She reveals her life, past and present, and  may  have you nodding in agreement with her as she struggles to move the cooling down body of her dead mother, then quickly betray your understanding. Helen will voice ugly thoughts, the kind of thought filled  frustrations  we do not/would not admit to having, the kind we keep secret even from ourselves about ourselves.

Helen  has killed her mother off methodically, in detail, and as she says “easily”  before we even get to the Second Chapter of the book. Is she a sociopath, psychotic, or a worn out life long caregiver pushed to over her limits?  Are we,  or someone we know,   able to  sympathize, identify, relate, or have experienced some of Helen’s  frustration and in recognition  have the ability to quick slip down to this unpardonable act? The question of who is capable of what leaped  out of the book and lodged in my  head.  Just when I got a grip back on the storyline, Helen veered off again into carefully constructed, plausible, and suddenly totally inappropriate behavior.

As  Helen prepares her coverup of what she acknowledges is a crime, she lays bare to us the public and private lives of her family members, neighbors, friends, and her own childhood.  Innocent or not, anyone connected with her  may find themselves thrust suddenly  into being complicit to a matricide.

Neither our murderess Helen, or ALice Sebold  linger over scenes or sentiments in this book.  They have a lot to take care of in the 24hours that follow Page 1 Sentence One:

“When all is said and done, killing my mother came easily.”

  A 291 page summer afternoon Lazyboy Recliner read.

Today’s Music:  Guess Who “She’s Come Undone

Camera Lucida – Enchanted

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“Exploring with my camera the ruins of Pompei, walking quietly through long ago abandoned homes, walls casting spells with the courage of artwork so breathtaking volcanoes and time have no bearing. The Enchantment lingers deep in me.”

Invited by Julia of MyRedPage to join her feature called Camera Lucida. Here in part is her challenge:

camera lucida |ˌkam(ə)rə ˈluːsɪdə| an instrument in which rays of light are reflected by a prism to produce an image on a sheet of paper, from which a drawing can be made. I’ve thought that is just a beautiful description of something quite out of the ordinary…and that is what I want to achieve with this new challenge I’ve embarked on today:) Every week I will set a new theme to follow in my photography    journey and I hope you will want to join me and display your creations on what I call “Your Gallery”

Julia’s theme this week is Enchanted. Enchanted

  1. under a spell; bewitched; magical
  2. utterly delighted or captivated; fascinated; charmed

I think Camera Lucida is just a wonderful idea and I am happy to have placed this submission there. Please follow the links to take a look at what Enchantments  other photographers have captured. Peace and Blessings.

Sunday Blog Visits

Sunday Blog Visits

These are just a few of the creative and innovative websites I have visited this week that inform, entertain, challenge, and inspire. Some I have featured previously.  Stepping out into new creative projects from their blogs, I find their new ventures to be incentives for me and I am sure others to consider the blog as a springboard, and for those new to blogging to see the different directions blogs can take.  A few I have included  are new to me and I encourage you to drop in for a  visit and see for yourself the high quality and diverse content being produced on these blogs.

James Clear writes “What I Do When I feel Like Giving Up.” A no surrender voice that will quickly get you out of any desire you have to quit any project or goal you are invested in.  His information and ideas are always backed by solid research and where to find it, and his writing is personable enough that you can identify with his situation, or  ponder how he knew exactly what you needed to hear.

I follow Andrew’s View of the Week largely because there is not one shred of pretense or pretend to it. He also  kindly encourages those bloggers he follows, which I am grateful to be one of.  The quality of his  post this week on his own personal General Writing Rules explains why he is celebrating his 500th  follower and being asked to write  a column for Today’s Author.  Congratulations Andrew.

It was surely a laugh out loud at myself moment when I received a response to a comment I had written to ElizaBerrie about                                                          ” And They Lived Happily Ever After The End”  a short story she wrote on her website Looking Back From 50.  She had written this very detailed slice of life recounting of a babysitting gig she had years ago and the wisdom of a six year old. When she replied to my praise with the news it was fiction..totally made up …I hit the follow button to her website. It is filled with so many stories and her site is so well organized and easy to navigate. She can and does personify the belief that fiction is the closest to truth and reality we can get!

Curtis Bausse is busy. Get yourself on over to Journey of a Blogvelist right now before you get left behind. He has his neighbor’s curiosity as he sports bloody knives, wine bottles and a determination to get the cover for his novel One Green Bottle to be truly representative of the tale within. You can read the first four chapters on his blog. It’s excellent. He also is now publishing the Bausse Gazette that you can subscribe to at Journey of a Blogvelist. Delivered by email, I read a few of the stories online and was so excited by the quality of them that I printed out the entire first edition and it is excellent bedtime reading.  Normal people having normal days that turn on a sentence in directions you never saw coming. Go now..and subscribe.

Spiral Sun inspires me because Kim has created a peaceful intelligent space and the quality of her writing and artwork keeps gaining strength and becoming more powerful and refined simultaneously.  Her musing, her book reviews, and her sharing her day to day efforts to explore and grow into the best person she can be are so heartfelt.  It’s a feminine space,  where Kim is asking the big how and why questions of our roles as humans on the planet and being genuine in her search for the answers. She is tracking down the good books, reading them and sharing what she finds. Her latest book review   ‘Zen and the Art of Making a Living’ by Lawrence Boldt offers up sound and soul based advice on what does and does not work when working for money, and her Meditations on Walking post is a mere sample of her ability to write in a genuine voice with photos to tease you into believing you took that walk with her, and enjoyed every moment.

Nothing makes me happier than finding a new science based website.        The Science of Illustration : All the Science That is Fit To Illustrate                    This site could well make science nerds out of everyone, something I believe is our best hope for saving our planet. Try out                                                         Vacancy at Emerald Ash Borer Motel .  There is a man walking down the street and he sees purple boxes hanging from trees. Aside from the humorous cartoon illustration is the story behind the box, of the millions of trees destroyed by this insect, written in language to make you care and links to verifiable science to back it up. Don’t like bugs? Try Fishy Art. Did you find yourself thinking about bats the last time you were buying bananas? There’s a reason for that. Matt Miller explains all on his well illustrated and most excellent diverse topic science website. Thank you Matt!

Looking for some very cool visuals about writing and words to match? Drop in on Smiley Like I Mean It. Smiley Yearwood received a                                          On Repeat Blog Tour Award and his response to it was just so much fun to watch, and his words ringing so true for anyone struggling to balance their 9-5 job life with their true creative calling.

That’s it for the Wednesday edition of Sunday Blog Visits.

 

Feet In the Right Place: Sedona Arizona

Be sure you put your feet in the right place, then stand firm.

Abraham Lincoln

The remains of Hurricane Andres began showing up early Friday morning as a low pressure area with gray clouds, possibly rain.  Unusual for the Verde Valley, but certainly not going to keep us  inside.
My Nikon CoolPix L830 was just back from a trip to California for repair, and I was eager to use it. I had received it as a gift from Terry to photograph our move, two months ago, and from the start it did not focus or respond correctly. Declared ‘a defective unit’ by a Nikon dealer, and off it went for warranty repair. Now returned,  I put the settings on one of the two ‘auto’ features,  laced up my boots, packed us  water and snacks and we were out the door of the townhouse  to hike Courthouse Butte Loop in the Village of Oak Creek. An easy gentle 4.2 mile hike that loops around the Courthouse towards Lee Mountain, heads  north briefly touching into  the Wilderness area. Then around to the (heavily used by quick photo stop visitors) Bell Rock Pathway, passed the cosmically famous Bell Rock, then returning to the parking lot.

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“Why are the rocks red?” you ask. Larry D. Fellows, State Geologist, answered that  question quite eloquently:

Red Rock Country is beautiful because of its geology
–colorful rocks shaped by natural weathering and ero-
sion processes.
What is now red rock was originally soft mud and sand
that were deposited during a 50-million-year time period
that began about 320 million years ago. During that time
the area was a low, arid coastal plain next to a shallow sea.
As usually happens in nature, many changes took
place–rivers, wind, and ocean waves and currents deposit-
ed sediment at different times. When sea level rose, layers
of mud accumulated on the sea floor on top of the river
deposits. When sea level fell, wind-blown sand and dunes
covered the area. Later on, all of the sediment was changed
to hard rock (lithified).
The red color of the rocks is caused by a thin coating
of iron oxide on the particles in the rocks. The iron oxide
was formed by chemical weathering of iron-bearing minerals in the rocks in the arid setting.
 These sandstone formations are old and trusted friends,  whom I have missed. I feel such a sense of belonging and acceptance here.  And while over four and one half million people visit Red Rock Country every year, we encountered very few fellow hikers and no mountain bikers. I surmise that the clouds were serving as gatekeepers. Shoes seemed to be the issue of the day, one gentlemen lamenting to his companion that he should not have worn his brand new boots, his wife really uncomfortable in sandals. Then a bare foot young woman leading a couple through a wash, and later we encountered them again, the barefoot lass perched just above the kneeling couple ; they gazing  at her in rapt attention. She explained that the              Great Spirit was affirming to her that She was in fact the One chosen to speak for Him, that she had brought them to the correct place, it was time,   and they must open themselves to the message and words of Great Spirit speaking now through her.  Without disturbing them, I placed two bottles of water where the couple could see them, asked Great Spirit silently to immediately provide shoes for the oracle, and on we hiked to the Wilderness Boundary where we encountered no one. DSCN9603
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We  stretched out near the dome and spoke awhile of all of the busy details and tasks of the last two months, the decisions, blessings, and how synchronicity  had showed up so many times making our journey home smooth, pointing us to the answers, the people, the assistance, and choices that created a smooth path for the big change parts of our transformation of our lifestyle.  Whether named God, Great Spirit, Universe, or that which has no name…we sat for awhile in gratitude, joined by a raven, a rabbit, and the silence. DSCN9671

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Onward we go around the back of  Courthouse Butte, past flowering  yucca, shaggy bark junipers, and pinon pines.  Yes, the ones who produce pine nuts for pesto.

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Yucca

The very best of the days flowering show offs, and our good luck to be there at the right time is that we got to see the agave, also known as the century plant. With very sharp points on their bluish green base spikes , they were a favorite with Native Tribes for needles, and the pulp in the leaves roasted or used for flour. In the same family of plants as the tequila agave, but quite sobering if they break your skin.   Somewhere between ten and twenty five years of growth, the agave  will respond to some unknown prompt and begin the growth of a thick asparagus like stalk, often over 25 feet in height that erupts into red buds and then blooms into yellow flowers. You can literally see these stalks grow from one day until the next. We were thrilled to see so many flowering.

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The raven stayed with us all the way to Bell Rock Pathway, where we weaved the last few steps of our day through the throngs of tourists freed for fifteen minutes from two large tour buses parked in the lot.

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A perfect day that I am happy to share with you. Peace and Blessings.