“Some Words Are Wind, Sir. Some Are Treason.” -George R. R. Martin

“Some Words Are Wind, Sir
Some Are Treason.”
George R. R. Martin- A Knight Of The Seven Kingdoms

 

 

Been wanting to get up to Walnut Canyon for awhile. Monsoon arrived with enough rain that the fire restrictions on the Parks, Forests, and Walnut Canyon were lifted and……We were out the door, with a quick stop for socks and bootlaces…. then the drive upward,  from Sedona to the top of Oak Creek Canyon.  On the edge, now,  of the Colorado Plateau. By the time we reach Flagstaff we are  six thousand nine hundred and ten feet’s worth of higher than sea level. The air is cool, clear, and crisp. Scented with freshly rain bathed  Ponderosa Pine, Firs, Cypress, and Juniper Trees. Worth coming up here just to breathe the air.

 

Walnut Canyon National Monument is Nine miles east of Flagstaff Arizona, on Route 40, heading towards Albuquerque New Mexico in the United States. Walnut Canyon National Monument offers visitors real insight at the value and importance of citizen participation and a United American Voice in protecting our National Monuments. There is a visitor’s  center, gift shop, two trails to view the ruins, and to get  close up and personal with the Canyon.

 

In the 1800’s it was quite a legal and popular activity to loot the land and stuff of the people who came before them.  Walnut Canyon was rich in the stuff of the daily routines of  former cultures, and many a  individual and group,  carted them off to have impressive conversation pieces in their homes, or to sell, trade, barter, to stash away art on speculation of increasing value, or to display in collections. Much damage and destruction resulted in addition to the loss of the treasure.

Walnut Canyon  is a seductress with it’s depth, textures, the way the light plays and teases, the silence, and the slowly revealed backstory of people, geology, ecosystems.  The treasure. The local people loved the Canyon; were outraged by the exploitation.

They appealed to the United States Government for assistance in preserving Walnut Canyon for all to enjoy, and on November 30, 1915 United States President Woodrow Wilson declared Walnut Canyon a National Monument. To be preserved, maintained, and available to the public worldwide to love, appreciate, and enjoy. In 2016 one hundred and fifty two thousand global visitors came to Walnut Canyon.

 

Walnut Canyon shelters and protects dwellings over eight hundred years old. Tucked along the cliffs, using the overhangs and recesses as waterproof walls and ceilings.  Only a few are pictured here, there are many to view and a very real sense of how large and interconnected a community the people who lived here were with one another.

 

Artifacts from the daily lives of the Archaic people who traveled through the southwest seasonally  Thousands of years ago have been located here in Walnut Canyon.

Sinaqua  (Spanish for ‘people without water’)  arrived to the Flagstaff area approximately One Thousand Four Hundred years ago. They were primarily dry farmers, attracted to this area by the fertile soil, plants, and wildlife. The cliffs were a safe place to  live,  with the women doing the majority of the construction of the dwellings.  The Sinaqua  left the area, leaving behind  many of their homes, artwork, tools, possessions, and household items behind.

 

The dwellings line both sides of Walnut Canyon, about one hundred and eighty five foot down from the top. It allows the mind to open even more to idea of a community of people, and to experience exquisite nature quiet of  the breeze in the trees, the call of birds, and an occasional falling rock.

 

There are engaging very well organized and executed series of displays along the trail. Worth reading and considering.  They fill in the gaps of  detail for the imagination to create a rich and full vivid imagery of what a day looked like from where I am now stand now, on the cliffs edge. The displays don’t intrude.

 

There are big views, the kind that stop me  mid-step and call my attention in silent reverence to just how big and grand it all is.  Striations on the gray rock above showing changes in the direction of the wind for the past millions years. Simply magic.

 

And then there is the sound of a deep throated thunder growl rolling  down  in the Canyon and coming on fast and close, rushing on past calling out the news of coming weather.

We heed the warning, climb the two hundred forty steep vertical steps to the Rim of the Canyon,  and soon we are on way to Flagstaff for lunch, just as the storm arrives quite dramatically with big sky lightning, thunder, and solid serious rain.

There are currently 129 designated National Monuments in the United States. There is change afoot, seeking to undo a commitment made One Hundred and Twelve Years ago to protect rare wildlife habitat, Native American Archaeological ruin,  unique environments worthy of preservation and/or study.  Historic landmarks, historic and prehistoric structures, and other objects of historic or scientific interest coast to coast are at risk.

These are the United States of America’s  best loved and valuable places that have been enjoyed and shared for many generations with the commitment to keep them safe for generations going forward.

Reflecting a change of policy and purpose,  the U.S. Department of the Interior has targeted 27 National Monuments  for ‘review’, change in designation and use.  These proposals  will shrink the boundaries, reduce the protections, and open up permitting for formerly prohibited activities.  Over 100,000 acres of well loved, protected, and valued National Monuments at risk.

I believe that, like the public who spoke up to protect Walnut Canyon so many years ago, that the people continue to value and want protections of their National Monuments. May our voices be heard.

A safe, engaged, and prosperous August to each and everyone of you.

Music: Boz Scaggs

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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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With The Noise Of It

When the green woods laugh
With the voice of joy,
And the dimpling stream
Runs laughing by;
When the air does laugh
With our merry wit,
And the green hill laughs
With the noise of it.
William Blake

Being near cold flowing water, with an overhang of trees  is where I feel most whole and in grace. These strips of riparian paradise exist Worldwide, each unique and mesmerizing. No matter where we wander, there is a familiarity, recognition, and welcome in the rivers, streams, and creeks.   Especially when shared, the truly best kind of days. Perhaps a past or future as fish. This stretch of Beaver Creek has been a favorite for twenty five and some years, and I am happy to provide you a look about with these photos as my submission for  WordPress Photo Challenge theme of Place In The World.

 Inspiration for this weeks Challenge – Erica V 

For this week’s photo challenge, explore what it means to find your place in the world. Where’s your safe space? Where do you go when you need to feel inspired or cheered up? Let loose and give us a glimpse of who you are in the grand scheme of things.

All my best to Each and Everyone.

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Music: Pete Seegar Sail Up & Down The River

One Against Another

There are no lines in nature,
Only areas of color,
One against another.

Definitely an Oriole, perhaps a Scott’s or a Bullock’s, or the elusive Sweet Toothed Blonde Big Mouth.  A loud brash vocal arrival and flash of brilliant yellow.  A hint of gold. Scolding me from his perch in the trees, to the roof, then the hedge, wanting both the hummingbirds and me to go. He wants the garden and the sugared water to himself. Behavior of a youthful starling, all brass and daring. I admire his energy, determination, and persistence. At stalemate, he decides to scatter the hummingbirds and ignore me.  Very soon Peregrine will arrive to hunt the afternoon shadows in the garden. Oriole does not know that, and once establishing himself at the bar, his sugar high binge drinking begins in earnest.

In response to the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Lines-  In the Oriole’s coming for your face photo above, the camera caught the flared movement of the wings blurring the detail of the feather’s colors, creating accentuating lines along the wings. In the slideshow below I included the same photo with a black and white filter which made the lines of flight even more dominate. This was a Happy Dance capture with the camera moment for me. The second time the Nikon Coolpix L830 pushed beyond  her limits and caught bird flight succinctly.

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Wishing Each and Every One of You a safe, joyful, prosperous, and peace filled Month of May.

 

I Would Venture To Guess

“I would venture to guess
That Anon,
Who wrote so many poems
Without signing them,
Was often a woman.”
Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own

Wood Duck  may well be the most beautiful bird whose acquaintance I’ve made. Close to the edge of magic. From the riverbank I witnessed the rising sun engage each feather of Wood Duck individually, collectively, colors high and vibrant. Wondering if that rustle in the still brittle reeds is a mate nesting.

Equally amazing and always surprised is that every once in awhile photograph, that pleases me immensely…..this captured Wood Duck’s image is just such a photo. I am pleased to share all of my photos today, but especially Wood Duck with you.

Enjoying the Jail Trail located in Old Town Cottonwood Arizona. Visiting frequently to observe and photograph the unfolding of Spring and ending the morning back at the Trail head where the sidewalk leads quickly  to latte and pastery, or lunch if we have lingered.  Sidewalk cafes and restaurants abound , where locals and visitors mingle over second and third cups of coffee.

 

The Jail Trail: A riparian oasis of sorts, running with the Verde River, Dog walkers, birders, families, lovers, photographers, joggers, fisherman, a science class, an artists doing watercolors, or those pausing while just passing through. It’s a well loved and used area , and yes,  worn in places. Welcoming to the eye and spirit is this greening up towards lush ribbon of riparian respite.  Going green anyway,  in this Spring of dry weather, no rain, no wildflowers, High Sonoran desert. A morning haven with birdsong, river music, and the sound of a million bees enjoying the flowering of the ancient cottonwoods.  The old trees give  the sense of permanence and peace to this very special place.

Earth Day- April 22- The global theme is to reduce plastic pollution.

The Verde Valley Birding and Nature Festival is April 26-29 2018.

Peace and Blessings to Each and Everyone of You.

In Response to this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge – Awakening 

 

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.

A Grand Gift Of Silence

“You have a grand gift for silence, Watson.
It makes you quite invaluable as a companion.”
Sherlock Holmes via Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

A recent day of shared silence… hiking the  Little-Horse Trail #61 to Chicken Point in Sedona Arizona. A hike which I now share silently with you in Photographs:

In response to WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Silence

New Oxford American Dictionary-
Origins: Middle English: from Old French, from Latin silentium, from silere be silent.                                                                                                                            
silence–  | ˈsīləns | noun complete absence of sound: sirens pierce the silence of the night | an eerie silence descended over the house.                                         the fact or state of abstaining from speech: Karen had withdrawn into sullen silence | she was reduced to silence for a moment.                                                    the avoidance of mentioning or discussing something: politicians keep their silence on the big questions. •                                                                                       the state of standing still and not speaking as a sign of respect for someone deceased or in an opportunity for prayer: a moment of silence presided over by a local minister.

verb [with object] cause to become silent; prohibit or prevent from speaking: the team’s performance silenced their critics | freedom of the press cannot be silenced by tanks. (usually as adjective silenced) fit (a gun or other loud mechanism) with a silencer: a silenced .22 rifle.

PHRASES in silence without speech or other sound: we finished our meal in silence.

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A Safe and Peace-filled weekend to each and everyone.

 

News/Music: Simon & Garfunkel- Sounds of Silence