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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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

The United States Came To Us- Part 2

“No Statue of Liberty
Ever greeted our arrival in this country…
We did not, in fact
Come to the United States at all.
The United States came to us.”
― Luis Valdez

Part Two of Two photo/essays on a recent outing to  Fort Verde State Park in Camp Verde Arizona.

Fort Verde State Park offered to me  a fascinating glimpse into the values, beliefs, goals, lifestyle, technology, fashion, weapons, and recreations of the U.S. Military in the latter part of the 1800’s.

Original Adobe of Military Quarters

A small museum/gift shop is located in the original Military Headquarters Building along with a museum revealing in artifacts, film, photos, information boards, and very knowledgeable Park Service employees…. who value storytelling…  exactly what brought the 306 enlisted men, 11 officers, 19 civilians, and 36 Apache Tribal Members acting as Scouts, to the Verde Valley in the 1860’s. And while I twice would snort in disdain at the smooth over depiction of the U.S. Army’s treatment of the already settled into the area tribal population, this beautifully executed museum enabled me to become an observer, see the events and people involved from a distance, while standing in place see their place in the events.   As an observer,  I could appreciate for the first time a bigger story than I previously knew:  The variety of goals, values, and belief systems  of very different individuals and groups that were sharing one space,  the clash and conflict inevitable. Miners, ranchers, settlers, U.S. Government, and the U.S. Army all focused on this place and time where I stand now for very different reasons.  Whether in their behaviors and actions, or choices of possessions ( shown in the well narrated display cases )- the  tools, clothing, weapons, correspondence, or  technology all these things speak the story of what the people involved valued.


Wpdms arizona new mexico territories 1863 idx.pngImage result for world map arizona usa

While the Civil War raged,  the United States Congress passed theArizona Organic Act(1863)“, splitting the western portion of the New Mexico Territory and declaring it the new Arizona Territory Slavery was abolished in this  new Territory, a practice already limited in the area by the Mexican tradition, laws, and settlement lifestyles. The Arizona Organic Act can be traced to businessmen from Ohio with silver mining investments in southwestern area , taking their request for Arizona Territorial status to Congress. was Union Army needed silver for the war.  The following year Prescott was named the Territorial Capital and not only were businessmen investing in mining operations, but a placer gold strike near Prescott, brought thousands of ill prepared and inexperienced miners into the region:

Farmers, merchants, and would be homesteaders were further encouraged  to travel west and settle in the bottom lands of the Verde River to farm and build communities:

At issue with this westward migration of people, industry, and land use, was the fact that the geographical area was already occupied and well established into the functioning communities  of the Yavapai and Tonto Apache Tribes.

The conflicts came with the sudden intensified land and resource use in an ecological area where the margin for sustainability is often thin between enough and ruin, living and death.  The conflicts came in culture clashes, with differences in goals, experiences, lifestyles, beliefs of land ownership, restrictions on land use, purpose and value of  mining, and rules of engagement for the raiding/respect of other communities.

It took over a year but soon these conflicts lead the businessmen with mining interests, miners, settlers, and ranchers , as residents of the newly  recognized Territory of the United States to  demand assistance/protection from the native tribes by the U.S. Government.  First to assist were a voluntary military of  Mexican recruits, who marched barefoot on half rations, but were recognized by the U.S. Army  as ‘brave fighters.’

In 1865 the regular U.S. Army arrived with a tent camp near West Clear Creek, releasing the volunteer recruits from duty the following year. The tent camp relocated once and again, with malaria prompting the final move in 1870 to the present location, named Camp Verde.  With 22 buildings constructed around a parade ground Camp Verde soon served as a staging base, with connecting roads built to service Fort Whipple to the west and Fort Apache to the East.

In addition to the road building goal, the U.S. Army was charged with enforcing the Federal Indian Policy  to control the Yavapai and Tonto Apache Tribes by creating reservations (specific geographical areas designated by the  U. S. Government for Native Tribes to live on.)

While the different Tribes were recognized by the Army as ferocious fighters, and had the advantage of local knowledge , the Tribes were at a very real disadvantage as they were simultaneously responsible for their families, they lacked the modern technology, weapons, training,  discipline, supplies, of the U.S. Army. and were already involved in disputes and responding to raids from other Tribes.

Between 1873 and 1875, nearly One Thousand Fifteen Hundred people from different Tribes were relocated to the 800 acre Rio Verde Reservation near Cottonwood, where they dug irrigation ditches and put fifty six acres under cultivation. But very quickly (February 1865), business men and settlers wanted the land for commercial mining, farming and ranching and took their demands to the U.S. Congress. The U.S. Army was charged with the responsibility of relocating entire tribal population, and did so on an 180 Mile  10 day winter walk without adequate food, water, or shelter to the Sans Carlos Agency in Globe. The number of tribal members who died or disappeared is disputed, but I believe well over one hundred.

Following this move, the U.S. Army primarily policed the reservations and their people renaming Camp Verde, Fort Verde in 1879.  The post was abandoned in 1899, and sold at Public Auction in 1899.

Made a State Park in 1970 and was added to the National Register of Historic Places one year later. There is much more to see, I encourage you to go, and Arizona is not bragging when claiming Fort Verde State Park to be                   ‘the best preserved example of an Indian Wars period fort in Arizona.’

Park and Facility Hours : 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. daily                                              Visitor Center/Park Store 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. daily                                             Park Entrance Fees                                                                                                       Adult (14+): $7.00
Youth (7–13): $4.00
Child (0–6): FREE

Interested in Arizona or Tribal History?  Here’s my recommendations:

Jack Utter- American Indians: Answers to Today’s Questions- Second Edition- 2001 National Woodlands Publishing/University of Oklahoma Press

Marshall Trimble – Roadside History of Arizona

Indian Givers- Jack Weatherford


Here’s Part One!

An excellent week to each and everyone.

The United States Came To Us – Part One

“No Statue of Liberty
Ever greeted our arrival in this country…
We did not, in fact
Come to the United States at all.
The United States came to us.”
― Luis Valdez

A picnic packed, out the door jaunt of a day, that included Fort Verde State Historic Park. Promoted as ‘ the best preserved example of an Indian Wars period fort in Arizona.’


The first surprise turned out to be that there is no fort.

A well maintained white picket fence marks the boundaries.  According to one of the many information boards available during a  self guided tour:

Building materials were a concern. Many forts were located in barren, treeless areas and building materials were in short supply. Whatever wood was available was needed in the construction of buildings.

The army was also concerned about Troop morale. Huddling behind a wall was not considered inspiring for the troops. One general in the Dakota Territory wrote, “It is better for troop morale to depend on vigilance and breech-loaders for protection than to hide behind palisades.

The second surprise was just how interesting, firing of the imagination, the self guided tour was for me.  There are engaging displays…with a  balanced mix of artistic, artifact, photos, tools, correspondence,  and time correct technologies accompanied by clear, easily understood  explanations.  Found myself drawn in, captured really,  by the narrative of the military history of the Verde Valley area. The displays of these items, some familiar and others quite curiosities humanized for me the military personnel, miners, ranchers, and settlers involved. The collection of old photographs fill in the narratives well. How vastly different the concept of how to live in this area differed from the people already established here.  Definitely suggest it as a place to visit if you are visiting Sedona, to take the young ones, and to take visitors who are visiting, if you already live locally.

Several original buildings are preserved, filled with period displays,  enabling visitors to get a sense of what was necessary and valued by the soldiers and their families who lived there.  Whether  the guns at the ready beside thin blanketed cots, four to a room in the Bachelor Officers quarters:

Or the separate quarters for the Commanding Officer and his family:

The ‘Striker’, an  enlisted man whose responsibilities included the chores, laundry, cooking, and child care also lived in the Commander’s Quarters. This duty included better living quarters, and an extra $5.00 dollars a month salary, a substantial increase,  bringing his monthly pay to $13.00.

There was also a Surgeons Quarters, where antiseptic procedures were new ideas under development, there were no antibiotics or vaccines, and amputation was the treatment of choice for many injuries and infections.  Also an identical building to the Commanding Officer’s Quarters served as  Married Officer’s Quarters, only with four families sharing the same space. At full function there were 22 buildings, the few remaining cared for and brimming over with history.

Part Two of the Fort Verde State Park Photo/Essay, arriving soon,  will move  to the original Military Headquarters

Original Adobe of Military Headquarters- Fort Verde State Park, Camp Verde Arizona

where I learned and will share with you, just why the U.S. Army,  ….a maximum  306 enlisted men, 11 officers, 19 civilians, and 36 Apache Tribal Members acting as Scouts, came together here in the Verde Valley between 1871-1891.

An excellent day to one and all.

Here’s Where To Find Part Two


“Beep Beep”

“Beep Beep.” Roadrunner

Road Runner showed Herself this week, and certainly is cheeky, in my  anthropomorphic opinion.

Two foot long, strutting about wearing a demure crested crown on Her Royal Head, then choosing to run away at an average eighteen miles per hour sprint with those long strutting legs now appearing parallel with the ground. Flirtatiously, She shows a glimpse of Her white tipped tail used as a rudder, an  air-brake, and for balance often the only proof  She gives of Her presence .

Forget tracking Roadrunner. She has two toes pointing forward and two backward, making it impossible to know, once vanished …if she has come or gone. Roadrunners distinctive X footprint is featured prominently in Tribal and Mexican designs and stories as warding off evil. Roadrunner is said in story/legend to embody resilience, courage, strength, endurance and of course speed.

Roadrunner thrives in feathered desert camouflage throughout the Southwest of the United States, but I have seen Her in the depths of Louisiana, a snake hanging from Her beak, the feathers beneath Her chin fluffing to cool her body down.

Road Runner may only weigh in at an average of a pound, but during Her maybe six year lifespan, She will consume thousands of grasshoppers, lizards, snakes, and small mammals, poisonous or not irrelevant, with no toxic effect when swallowed properly. Water can be, and often is  scarce in the desert. The moisture in Roadrunner’s  food supplies needed fluids. , and physical adaptations allows Roadrunner to secrete salty solutions from a duct under Her eyes, rather than in the larger amount of fluid lost through her kidneys.

Roadrunner has been teasing me for several weeks, a peep here, a ‘BEEP BEEP’ there, never really showing herself, until with no explanation, She strutted out in full view, looked me square in the eye, and jumped lightly to the corner of the garden wall where Fox paused just a week or so ago, and allowed an astonished me to get several photos, then the cheeky  gal was……gone.

In response to WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Cheeky

A safe and most excellent weekend to one and all.

New Oxford American Dictionary

cheeky | ˈCHēkē | adjective (cheekier, cheekiest)-  chiefly British – impudent or irreverent, typically in an endearing or amusing way: a cheeky grin. DERIVATIVES cheekiness | ˈCHēkēnəs | noun


Related: What You Have Tamed

Unless……We Get A Little Crazy

Miracles will happen
As we speak
But we’re never
Gonna survive …unless
We get a little crazy-
Crazy- Seal


Hawks  arrive unannounced… my lived long life.  When three show up, two Harlan’s and a Red tailed on one morning walk, chances are they arrive  and bestow with a screech, glide,  and potent stare,…. a feeling of optimism, encouragement, wonderment, and change, …which I am pleased to share a glimpse of with you. A most excellent way to begin the day.


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In response to WordPress Photo Challenge: Peek to show you a peek this week of what I see and am able to capture on the camera.

Oxford American’s Writer’s Thesaurus;

PEEK- noun: a peek at the map: secret look, sly look, stealthy look, sneaky look, peep, glance, glimpse, hurried/quick look; informal gander, squint.

Wishing each and everyone a most safe and peaceful weekend.


As I Go Ramblin Round

Ramblin’ around your city
Ramblin’ around your town
I never see a friend I know
As I go ramblin’ ’round, boys
As I go ramblin’ ’round-

There are many visitors rambling around the Verde Valley right now. People from all over our shared round planet.  I wonder how many will, amid their busy holiday schedule,  pause along Oak Creek, and catch a glimpse of this meditating Water Cairn, quite mysterious, rounded,  and reassuring.

Joining this weeks WordPress Photo Challenge : Rounded , headed up by  Many just excellent entries to view. Or better yet join in.

A safe and peaceful day to one and all.

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New Oxford American: Rounded-rounded |ˈroundəd|                                   adjective: 1 having a smooth, curved surface: rounded gray hills.having a spherical shape: its rounded, almost bulbous head.forming circular or elliptical shapes: his writing was firm and rounded.

Phonetics (of a vowel): pronounced with the lips pursed. 2 well developed in all aspects; complete and balanced: we should educate children to become rounded human beings.