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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One-Liner Wednesday: When Hawks Bathe

“Mid dust bath, the hawk paused and allowed ants to swarm over it’s feathers, releasing their anty toxic formic acid, I believe but can’t prove,  to drive parasites from the hawks plumage.” JoHanna Massey

In Response to: Linda Hill’s One Liner Wednesday.

Today’s Music: Daniel Barenboim: Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 5 in E Flat Major Op.73

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.


Out and About: Sunday Blog Visits

So I was out and about early today doing my  Sunday Blog Visits. I encourage you to stop by and visit these folks  yourself and if you do drop in let them know I gave you directions.

On  Freshly Pressed I discovered Longreads, founded by Mark Armstrong. What caught my eye was the tribute article to the journalist David Carr , who passed this week. David Carr has been one of my favorites for years because of his bold unapologetic lifestyle and writing. All week the media has been speaking of the loss of David Carr. This article in Longreads is the best and truly most representative of who David Carr was and if you are looking for some inspiration about speaking your truth, read this excellent compilation about who David Carr was and what he said and did while he was here.

The official site for IMPREINT, an artist who promotes social issues with edgy challenges to  indifference kind of projects, is currently focused on homelessness. A simple cardboard sign that declares an individual wants to eat in a fine restaurant is placed in various places, waiting for response by pedestrians. Raising awareness on homelessness. It will be interesting to see where this site and the artist goes with it,  what happens next, and if it will have an impact.
MIndlessfloyd is anything but mindless. Claiming intentions to be a travel log, it actually is in an unconventional sense. The mind and heart can certainly wander far at Mindlessfloyd. Some beguiling graceful poetry waits for you there. The piece I found most intriguing , and appropriate since we just celebrated St Valentines Day is the essay called “ This One Is For You.” It is about the coming together of people with those of like mind and heart, who you choose to spend your time with, and the authors thoughts on what the term guru is. Free flowing mind at work here on this site.


You can find an eclectic mix of always positive themed articles at                 The Daily Inspiration Blog.  Everything from                                                            “10 tips to Improve Concentration” to a piece called                                                  A Short Biography of Gautama Buddha. I have taken a few formal classes on Buddhism and I have to say that this one short article is one of the best,  most easily understood, and just plain pretty  synopsis of the fundamentals of Buddhism I have read. This is a get happy state of mind site and provides great short infusions of good into your day. Who can’t use a short infusion of good and another cup of coffee into some days?


The most current offering at 1SigFrdsson is a series of images called  Watering Mirror Special. The photographer used a layer of water and oil to create some haunting images. Spring has already arrived in a collection, and my favorite on the site,  is called Almond Trees in Bloom.

Tokini has created a eye catching glamorous site called A Beautiful Insanity . She really has that artists eye going here! But I am focused today on a piece she wrote on all the great creative work produced and not seen, and then offers her own assistance in changing this. She has launched                 Friendly Friday.  In her own words:

“So, I’m starting Friendly Fridays. On certain Fridays, I won’t post anything of my own. Instead, I’ll dedicate that time to giving my attention and support to under appreciated art.  That’s where you come in. I want you to share with me.

Is there a video, blog post, picture, twitter handle, facebook page or anything else you feel should get attention. Leave the link in the comments section and I PROMISE I will go there and help a such as I can. “

How about showing up there at Beautiful Insanity, supporting Tohini’s effort to help this community thrive, and see how it works out?
I support MumblyMuses because she,  like me, is a mature older woman having fun with her website.  She has a very interesting life which includes having been a newspaper reporter, political hack, city council clerk, and a full time student beginning at age fifty and holding some fairly impressive degrees in Latin American and US History as a result. Her writing is clear and concise and often wise  without being preachy, and her story will live on in cyberspace which gives her great joy! She has a funny and so true piece on TV News that you may get a hoot out of reading.

Alas, on I’m Barely Keeping Up a much beloved computer has been replaced It’s a story we can all relate to, whether it is a computer, a car, a house, or a favorite cookie sheet. It’s a slice of life piece that will have me returning to the site for more stories.
The Science Geek showed up as a “Like” for the Friday post I do about my Environmental Science Class. While my Science themed posts aren’t  generating any interest, The Science Geek’s are!   I went to see who The Science Geek was and what a very cool and inspiring site! Real insight on the skill upgrade I need for my Friday  Environmental Class posts!
He is writing about very complex scientific subjects in very easily understood terms. He is doing a series on cosmology and dark matter that allowed me to actually get it and why  what makes 68% of our cosmos is really something I should know about! Go visit the Science Geek.  I left his site humbled, but smarter!

“Whiskey is for drinking, Water is for Fighting Over” – Mark Twain

Week 2 of my Environmental Science Class at Dartmouth University on EDX was focused on Human Populations.

It was a week full of statistics, graphs, formulas, and equal parts cautionary concerns and optimism. There is currently an estimated 7.2 billion people on the planet. Most population scientists agree that the human population will level off at between 8-10 billion by the year 2100.

A full 83% of the current population live in less developed countries, where there is a lower standard of living for the majority of the population, an underdeveloped industrial base and falls within parameters set by the Human Development Index (HDI) which is based on measuring the averages of life spans, education, income, and access to resources. Vietnam, Pakistan, Peru, and South Africa are among those countries listed as developing. These are ares where birth rates are increasing. Developing countries use less resources than those of developed countries (ie Germany, United States, Israel, Japan), but strive to ‘westernize.’ Is being more ‘Westernized’ actually a good thing?

Statistics, big ideas, and issues don’t come easy for me. So I left the lectures and took a walk.  I currently live in a small coastal village. Water Water everywhere. Since last weeks class I have been looking at it with the thought that less than 1% of the water on the planet is fresh and available for human use. Suddenly I encountered water bubbling up rather forcefully along one of the streets, pooling in the yards of houses, and flowing down the street towards the creek. I picked up my pace and headed towards the commercial area of our village, hoping to find someone awake. Down along the docks I located two of the villages employees loading up branches from tree pruning,  and by the time I got home, the water mains were shut off for most of the village to allow for repairs.

My planned day changed dramatically. There would be no coffee, no shower, no laundry, no flushing of toilets. Not having access to water  would be a few hours inconvenience for me, and the  residents and business’s here.

According to The Water Project, there are nearly one billion people worldwide who do not have access to clean, safe drinking water.

Can human population growth push the planet beyond it’s carrying capacity? Every five days the earth’s human population increases by one million people. The carrying capacity is limited by space, or the food supply, and most important the abundance of potable water.

Is it a basic human right to have access to water? It  took me and my neighbors  less than one hour to begin grousing about our needs and right to water!

For any individual or community to thrive, prosper, and maintain good health access to clean water is necessary.

The Water Project is one of numerous non profit organizations who believe that safe water is vital for everyone without regard to income, social, ethnic, or religious background. They are one of numerous organizations that help communities dig wells, construct sub-surface dams, catch rain, protect fresh water springs, filter surface water, and maintain proper sanitation and hygiene practices. Through donations and volunteers they work to provide water to those who need it, and be good global neighbors.
But not everyone feels that clean water is a basic human  right.

Who can forget Nestle’s Chairman Andrew Brabeck’s infamous speech where he made clear that access to water was not a human right and should be assigned monetary value. He quickly became an internet sensation globally with the speech, but when he did go viral he began back peddling stating that while he may have said water was not a basic right he believes water is a basic human right for survival.

Irregardless of the conflict in what he says and believes,  with less than 1% of the planet’s water being fresh and usable for humans, where will the water resources come from for the  one million new humans who arrive on the planet every five days?

I pay a monthly fee to our village for water. It runs about thirty US dollars per month. I am embarrassed to say I do not even know how much water I use and my bill does not tell me. I liberally water my gardens, trees and flowers whenever they need it, and I love nothing better than a soak in my big old bathtub.

How long could I go without water?  Three to five days is the average if I am not exerting myself. Extreme heat or cold can also cause some variation.

 Experts recommend drinking approximately two quarts (64 ounces or about eight glasses) of water each day. Again, this may vary by temperature, and in hot environments would be more close to a gallon of water to be consumed per person per day.

So there is my survival amount of needed water.

In an in depth and well written  report by   Aljazeera   on water supplies globally and the impact of scarcity of water on human behavior it states:

Internationally, 780 million people lack access to safe drinking water, according to the United Nations. By 2030, 47 per cent of the world’s population will be living in areas of high water stress, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s Environmental Outlook to 2030 report.

Some analysts worry that wars of the future will be fought over blue gold, as thirsty people, opportunistic politicians and powerful corporations battle for dwindling resources.

 I can’t say that taking this Environmental Science Class is fun, but it really has me taking a much bigger view of what is happening on this planet we inhabit together, and realizing how much I have taken for  granted having abundant water for my personal use.
Women’s Work 2030
We walked three dry days
To the edge, then back again.
There is no water

Sunday Blog Visits

Went visiting this morning to some of the sites I follow.  Lots of interesting things going on in our global community of bloggers, and I like to get out and about to see what others are up to. Thought I would share my travels with you and encourage you to visit these fellow bloggers too!

First stop was Welcome To The Music Club where I caught a great video of the Beatles performing “Day Tripper” at their Slipknot Concert in Budapest Hungary. Had not heard that song in many years, and am always surprised that I still know all the lyrics to so many songs!

At Aging Gracefully My Ass is a lively accounting by the daughter in law of an aging mother in law /outlaw who has taken off across the Atlantic  to visit Rome alone in response to having not been invited on son and daughter in laws recent vacation.

Sue, at Cotswoldviews created a personalized snow photo for a mysterious follower from the Middle East known as Annie who has never seen snow. Sue takes really good  photos of her environs. Puts you right in the midst of her village.

Roni at Losing Screws does a feature called Other People’s Projects on Fridays and posted her friend and fellow new blogger Kerry’s Spa in a Jar gift project. A completely doable and useful gift to anyone who needs to put together a quick but elegant gift or wants to pamper themselves. Great in your supporting your fellow bloggers Roni!

Kim at Spiral Spun has garnered the Liebster Award, so if you want to know more about her, she has answered some interesting questions about herself associated with receiving the Award. And make a point to visit the Nature Journal  segments of Kim’s  site which is inspiring, offers some great reading suggestions, and really shines bright Kim’s writing talents.

Robert at O at the Edges muses very gently about whatever catches his attention. It is a very restful site, but busy with 7,593 reported followers. After reading Nocturne (Blue Grosbeak) make that 7,594.

Show up at  50 Shades of Reality  and have your moral compass shaken awake and realigned. There is a very challenging article about human trafficking that is kind of a must read for both men and women. The gal writing this blog wants to be a solicitor.

The Science girls at Faradays Candle have written a very good article about Celiac Disease.  Taking a complicated issue and making understanding it very simple. If your stomach is in an uproar, you might want to read this smart article.

These are just a sampling of the high caliber blogging going one all around us. Checking in and catching up with fellow bloggers can only inspire us to do better ourselves!

Have a great Sunday!