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

Rising From Marsh Mud

“I rose from marsh mud
algae, equisetum, willows,
sweet green, noisy
birds and frogs.”
Lorine Niedecker

There are times when only a good marsh soothes and centers, showing true north clearly once again. Tavasci Marsh is not the blue/black boot sucking mud tidal marshes of the Delaware Bay; or the aloof… frigid… moving ice, scattered sedge, and reindeer, of the Spitzbergen.

Tavasci Marsh is a fresh water marsh, with no tidal interface or brackish/salty water, located in the high desert region of the Arizona Southwest. There is a delicious sense of time thinning, stretching, going fluid at Tavasci Marsh.

Toozigoot, a pueblo built by the Sinagua people around 1000 AD visible on a nearby hilltop, the sound of the Verde River, rustling reeds, and birdsong invites the mind, body, emotions, and spirit to join together again… to desire a vision of something good and new and engaging in the going forward. Indeed, there is a pleasure, peace, and promise, that comes of lingering with the not quite solid ground of a good marsh.

 Peace and Blessings to Each and Everyone.

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No Guru, No Method, No Teacher

‘ I turned to You and I said
No Guru, No Method, No Teacher
Just You and I and Nature
In the Garden.’
Van Morrison


The Verde Valley is considered high desert with an annual rainfall that normally averages eighteen inches annually. However we remain, along with  most of the state in  Drought. Some say seventeen years, long time residents say more.

What happens next  is all about the water in this high desert. I woke this morning to the sound of rain on the roof, the first since January. A peaceful weekend to one and all.

Today’s Music: Van Morrison “In The Garden”

Oak Creek Canyon: The Equivalent of Churchgoing

My father considered a walk among the mountains 

as the equivalent of churchgoing.

Aldoux Huxley


Woke up with a need for some churchgoing. Headed out to Oak Creek Canyon,  a long time sacrosanct place for me,   a place which had experienced some serious trouble while I was living in the South. The Canyon stretches between Flagstaff and Sedona for about twelve miles of a most scenic of routes.  Oak Creek runs along the bottom, an all seasons flowing  stream and tributary of the Verde River.


Hundreds of thousands of global  visitors come to Oak Creek Canyon, for camping, hiking, swimming, fishing, photography, or their own personal form and need of spiritual renewal. Others pass through traveling to Sedona from the Grand Canyon, or to the Grand Canyon from Sedona, white knuckle navigating the high canyon switchbacks, seeking a pullout to take their perfect vacation photos.


Now I knew it was a Saturday in summer and water is always  an attraction in the desert. And  I knew that Sedona was hosting it’s annual Cowboys Weekend.  I had no thoughts or expectations of anything but sharing Oak Creek Canyon with many others. Even as layperson,  I  knew many people were going to be showing up to get near the renewing water. The analogy of a very well attended service sits well.


The Canyon welcomed me with easy familiarity and recognition, the prodigal   daughter returned.



” Giant’s Mitten or Teapot Rock”
“Camel Rock”
About 9:30 AM catching site of Midgley Bridge. Cars were already overflowing the parking area,  and even along the narrow shoulder of the roadway.


Now I admit to knowing where there used to be some very  carefully camouflaged  local knowledge only  paths to plunge into the baptism of ice cold deep water pools that Big Fish trout shared without fuss or flight. This was before GPS, cell phones, Sharing, and Links, and when these places were under a kind of unspoken local blessing and protection.
By the time we had passed Grasshopper Point and arrived at Slide Rock State Park, named one of America’s top ten state Parks, we realized with a gut punch the our beloved Canyon was in deep trouble again this year, only it is not fire scorching it to ruin.


While many  visitors  paid the fees that help maintain the parks, campgrounds,  and picnic ares, hundreds of vehicles lined both sides of the narrow road up the Canyon, filled the pullouts double and triple parking.


Image result for no parking sign
Over and over, and then over and over once again groups of thirty or more people were  carting coolers, cases, umbrella’s tarps, boxes, fishing gear, babies, suitcases, diaper bags, plastic containers, bar b q’s, strollers, cell phones, inner tubes,  chairs, tables, pull behind wagons,  and plastic bags of ice down the narrow road to the now many public citizen created trails and paths along the creek. It was for me, an environmental Dark Night of The Soul.


 Maybe you weren’t born with a silver spoon in your mouth, but like every American, you carry a deed to 635 million acres of public lands. That’s right. Even if you don’t own a house or the latest computer on the market, you own Yosemite, Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon, Golden Gate National Recreation Area, and many other natural treasures.

John Garamen

I embrace John Garamendi’s words and believe them to be true. How do they reconcile with the numbers of people coming into Oak Creek Canyon on this Saturday morning in July? The ‘public lands’ they are enjoying do not have parking, trash cans, fire pits, potable water, and most important of all,   they do not have bathrooms.


The designated recreational areas in Oak Creek Canyon, and they are numerous, are designed around the carrying capacity of Oak Creek Canyon’s ecosystem. The carrying capacity being the number of people living and recreating, in addition to all the other plants, animals, birds, insects, amphibians, all living things that can be supported in an ecosystem without causing  degradation.


Standing up at Oak Creek Vista  at the top of Oak Creek Canyon, you could not see one hint  of what was going on below.  It looked as pristine as the brochures and tourism promotions that abound.


How can the Canyon heal from the Slide Rock Fire with so many people flooding in and no longer using the designated recreational areas?  How can this beautiful unique ecosystem survive with even a semblance of health and vitality?
I think first of all, people need to know what is actually happening to  Oak Creek Canyon. The shock, futility and sadness that I felt  at seeing such disrespect for this hallowed area, gave way to my belief that giving up and giving in to it’s demise is not an option. With proper management and respect and a zero tolerance for violating the creek while continuing to provide the recreational areas so many use, Oak Creek Canyon will not only survive but thrive and be available to the next generations.


I encourage you to watch this slice of what the Mornings After look like up in Oak Creek Canyon. What 3,736 pounds of trash, 2,041 pounds of recycles, 260 pounds of feces, 69 diapers, The Oak Creek Watershed Council has made this excellent short film:
                                          Loved to Death


Then get involved. Whether you live in the Verde Valley area, or are one of the hundreds of thousands of visitors who come to enjoy or who have enjoyed in the past  the Oak Creek Canyon, let your voice be heard that Oak Creek Canyon should be saved.
Steps you can take:


Practice:  Leave No Trace
Join or support the Oak Creek Watershed Council,
Friends of The Forest or your organization of choice that is committed
to preserving and protecting the integrity of this or any watershed, and is at ground zero with boots on the ground doing the dirty work of cleaning up, restoration, public education, research, and water sampling.


and the Sedona Chamber of Commerce. Let them know that Oak Creek Canyon matters for recreational, spiritual, and economic and environmental reasons.


 And if you are a praying person, now would be the time.
It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth. I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth. I didn’t feel like a giant. I felt very, very small.
Neil Armstrong

Too Big For The Tub

One of the earliest people to show up at my website was                                           Journey of A Squvelisthttps.  Currently engaged in something that caught my interest and I thought I would participate in. Called Pick and Post, it goes like this:

Rules. A Pic’n’Post submission should contain:

  • A photograph you’ve taken
  • A brief (about 100 words) idea for a story prompted by the photo
  • A brief text explaining the true story behind the photo

To participate, simply publish a Pic’n’Post submission on your blog and send a link. This isn’t a contest, so there are no winners as such – all participants win the right to be inspired!

Upcoming deadline: Monday 9th March

This is my entry:


Fictional Idea:

Too Big For The Tub

Lewis was so cute and cuddly when  first found abandoned, or so we convinced ourselves, on an ice flow from a melting glacier. There simply had seemed no choice at the time but to take him back to the research station. He loved to cuddle, slept around with every one of us, drank the condensed milk and baby formula mixed with fish oil, and for several weeks he was our darling. We collected our data, filed our reports, took the last of our photos, and scheduled the plane to come and retrieve us out.

What about Lewis? I won the poker game and Lewis came home with me. He has outgrown the bathtub, the ice maker is broken, and I have yet to find a high stakes card game to lose.

Truth Behind The Photo

Excellent Day at the San Diego Zoo

Pic and Post

“As God As My Witness”- Scarlett O Hara

Week 3 of my Environmental Science Class at Dartmouth University EDX:  FOOD

Spoiler Alert:

I was employed as a Field Scout for a University/Extension Services/Dept of Agriculture Integrated Pest Management Program (IPM)  for some years of my life. Basically I went out and about on area farms and looked for bugs and diseases on  acres of fresh market corn, potatoes, peppers, and carrots. I took soil samples… Walked alot of fields,  wrote down what I found, had light traps and sticky traps, and dew monitoring devices scattered across three counties.  Reported all I discovered to the farmer growing the crops, the University, to the various county, state, and federal agencies. The goal of the IPM program was  to reduce the amount of pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides used. Rather than just routinely spray fields with chemicals, they would be applied as actually needed when pests/disease reached  set thresholds. The farmers embraced  it because for a nominal fee they could reduce their chemical use and their costs by up to 40% sometimes, reduce the health risks to themselves and their workers from exposure, and  bring good food to market. The chemical companies did not like that 40% cost reduction, and by the time I left the chemical companies  were in high gear to have their ‘own’ IPM Scouts free to the farmers who bought their chemicals. During this period I  held a Category One Commercial Applicators License for Pesticides issued by the DEP.  I know way too much about what agro chemicals  do to living things.  I know they are often necessary in food production and have been the person who made the recommendation.  I hold a degree in Aquaculture (fish farming).

I am loyal to and support the survival of small family farms, am chilled to the bone frightened by factory farming practices and the control, modification, and contamination of our food by those practices.

Concerned  about GMO’s:   Australia,  Japan plus the 27 countries of the European Union have a ban on Genetically Modified Organisms. The United States let them loose and because they can’t take it back embraces them. GMOs are living organisms whose genetic material has been artificially altered. It creates combinations of plant, animal, bacteria, and viral genes that do not occur in nature or through traditional crossbreeding methods.

Long ago and very far away, the  household where I lived experienced a taste of hungry., now called Food Insecurity.

It was my

Scarlett O Hara Moment.

As God is my witness, as God is my witness they’re not going to lick me. I’m going to live through this and when it’s all over, I’ll never be hungry again. No, nor any of my folk. If I have to lie, steal, cheat or kill. As God is my witness, I’ll never be hungry again.

It rides along through these many years of prosperity somewhere in my subconscious. It shows itself in restaurants when I read an entire menu before ordering, thrilled with the possibilities. It shows up with my groaning pantry shelves, my always overflowing fridge full of healthy stuff, my cooking for anyone who walks through the door, or I hear is feeling poorly. I abhor the wasting of food. Love of new recipes and cookbooks. Always say grace and mean it. It  showed up my Environmental Science Class today!

The topic was food. I narrowly have focused here on my website on a few of the definitions presented in the class, and then went looking about on the agency sites that use those terms. Decided to demonstrate what I thought the terms looked like.

Dartmouth University EDX:   Environmental Science                                             Week 3: Food

“It’s important you look and act like a farmer”
― Anders Breivik,

Humans have been growing food for about 12,000 years.
As the Hunter Gatherer stage of human development gave way to domesticating animals and digging in the dirt, we mostly settled down and created more permanent living arrangements. Populations grew as more food was produced, and in the last hundred years in developed countries, the animals and people who once did the labor has given way to machinery, chemicals, and tremendous use of fossil fuels. Circling back to Organic Farms which while often using machinery and mechanization do not use synthetic fertilizers or synthetic pest controls. Organic farmers tend to build soils, avoid GMO seeds, and produce much healthier food. Both organic and commercial farms  negatively impact the environment. The  organic farm through plowing creates erosion and uses fossil fuels, or the commercial who erode terrain and burn fossil fuels, but also introduces a variety of chemicals, genetically modified organisms into our environment, and over time depletes soil nutrients and organic matter through overuse of the land and faulty irrigation practices.

But however it’s grown,  people got to eat.

7.2 Billion People on our planet, and one million more arrive every five days.

Image result for happy people images
“What’s for dinner?”

Food insecurity is when people do not have access to an adequate amount of food for an active, healthy life.
It is estimated that 14.5 percent of United States households found themselves facing that situation in 2012 and it hasn’t changed much since. And 5.6 of United States households find themselves facing food insecurity as the way they live. I believe those numbers are much higher. Back when our household had those, thankfully, few days…we called it ‘being alittle hungry.’ And no one but us knew.


Image result for malnutrition images
Malnourished looks like this

3 Billion, estimates the World Health Organization  are malnourished. When you are malnourished it means that irregardless of the number of calories you consume, your food lacks the correct balance of carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, and minerals to adequately sustain you. Oh you are alive, but it means you are not healthy, easily susceptible to diseases, and if you are a child your hungry brain isn’t operating as intended and your IQ will lower accordingly.

Image result for malnutrition
And this.





1 Billion of us suffer from Overnutrition. Taking in way too many calories, but of the wrong kind of foods, and so we  are fat, get sedentary,  and it does not look like a good time. Overnutrition  leads to type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, strokes, heart disease, and while it once was the playground of the United States citizenry, it has now spread worldwide. Time to read labels and see what it is you are putting into your body. How much of it is actual food?

It looks like this
And this


Time to talk about Famine  A famine occurs when  the lack of food is so extreme that a large number of people are going to die in a given area over a very short period of time.

The UN has warned that there are 2.5 million people on the brink of famine and that more than six million people in the South Sudan are on the edge of it. Half the population of the Sudan just may starve to death.

Famine is when the guns come out.
The cows die
Bodies pile up


“The soil is the great connector of lives, the source and destination of all. It is the healer and restorer and resurrector, by which disease passes into health, age into youth, death into life. Without proper care for it we can have no community, because without proper care for it we can have no life.”
― Wendell Berry, The Unsettling of America: Culture and Agriculture

These are what healthy people with access to healthy food look like.

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Image result for healthy americans images

Image result for healthy americans images






At JoHannaMassey.com  people show up from all over the globe. Yesterday people came here from the United States, Germany, Kenya, South Africa, Poland, United Arab Emirates, Canada, Australia, United Kingdom, and India. I would love to hear from you about Farming and the whole issue of Food in your country, whether you grow your own, what your markets and supply chain looks like, do you eat and embrace organic? My curiosity about how the people who come to my website eat. Send me a recipe, a photo. Tell me your food stories!

My best to everyone.