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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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.

 

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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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.