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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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

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.

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

What You Have Tamed

“Men have forgotten this truth,” said the fox.
“But you must not forget it.
You become responsible, forever,
For what you have tamed.”

Antoine de Saint Exupery

Gray Fox arrived to the walled garden as a delicious secret. Appearing unexpected and for the first time at the townhouse,  for cover the sparseness of the desert willow saplings.  More prancing movement than form-along the  late afternoon shadow-for the  length of hedge. Through the cover of the willows again. In a  quick graceful leap Gray Fox is atop the vine sheltered corner where garden walls meet,  takes a good look about and then curls up nicely in repose. She has a full view  of the garden,  and a quick vanish option by simply slipping over to the other side and gone. She has a full view of me.

An estimate would be that Gray Fox is about two feet in length with a tail to match that two full feet, fifteen pounds,  and appears to me a young adult. A full healthy coat of thick fur which runs from gray to rust to white with black accents and trim. Golden eyes that stare deep.

Gray Fox will mate,  somewhere between January and April  in the Southwestern United States, often birthing a half dozen pups.  Her mate and her stay together for the romance through the rearing of the pups, with shared responsibilities. Pups are weaned at three months, taught and able to hunt on their own at four months, and leave their parents in the autumn of the year. Gray Fox and her mate may or not seek out and choose each other to mate and rear offspring again,  their  average lifespan being six to eight years.  Gray Fox’s extended family is scattered far and near, not a red alert threat for extinction, but there are often serious concerns due to habitat loss, poor quality habitat, food sources, disease, parasites. Some diseases and parasites being contagious to other species.  Being caught out and killed by humans, bobcats, golden eagles, great horned owls is possible for Gray Fox.

Gray Fox eats rodents, insects, fruits, vegetables, and birds. Rabbits are a favorite as are  grasshoppers and crickets currently bountiful. It’s important not to habituate them to humans by feeding, they are wild things best left wild.

Gray Fox is secretive, nocturnal, moves about mainly at dawn and dusk, avoids confrontation, is excellent at camouflage, tree climbing, and if forced capable of a good winning fight.

Gray Fox has showed up throughout my life, observed and gone dozens of times and places. On a Cottage Roof along Pamlico River, high above  in a Pine in deep Oregon woods,  a chicken coop in New Jersey, Heart Island as a child.  Never tame or taming, the periodic and fleeting visits always honored as a gift. A pattern and portent of coming change and transformation observed.

In 1997 my dear friend Bonnie gifted me with the book , Animal Speak by     Ted Andrews. Ted Andrews wrote in seductive and beautiful words  of  the mythological, metaphysical, mystical, historical, shaman, and spiritual realm connection of critters. Basically the belief is that  species appear to individuals  with signs and messages.  By observing their behavior and attributes, and the careful consideration of circumstances in life when they show up, they are designated as an individual’s totem. Having Gray Fox as a totem is overflowing with mystery and magic. Who wouldn’t want to embrace the fun of  life charged up on Feminine Magic, Shape-shifting, Cunning,  Big Transition, Supernatural Power, Freeing of the Creative Force, and the ability to dwell ‘Between Worlds’ – ‘Mix this Sedona Speak with my  preexisting science background, and lifetime wanderlust it can surely  make for a fairly exhilarating day.  I do believe I choose  Shape-shifting, Feminine Strength,  and Camouflage as my choice of  prancing through this season of holidays with calm, safety, and joy.

Over the years I have been told and read many stories about Gray Fox. Of the Choctaw Tribe who believe Gray Fox is the protector of the family, the Apache story of Gray Fox stealing the fire from the sun and gifting it to humans.

Acknowledging the message from Gray Fox of possible big upcoming transformation,  I encourage Gray Fox take  a quick exit back to Coconino National Forest that borders this Planned Unit Development where humans may not see magic transformation in progress  in sighting that  big  bushy tail.

In response to WordPress Photo Challenge: Transformation

A safe and joyful holiday season to each and everyone. I send a heart filled with gratitude for your kind words, support, insightful smart websites, shared lives, and feeling  of community  that we have shared throughout the year.

Music: Like A Hurricane- Neil Young.

Gray Fox : Order: Carnivora Family: Canidae
Genus: Urocyon