These rocks, my friends

Rocks as friends

These basalt boulders are at the Ensinoso Park in Oak Creek near Sedona. In low-water times of the year, there is a crossing here where the white water is. You can just hop from stone to stone to traverse the creek.

In the winter, their crevices become miniature caverns of ice. In the summer, their meeting-edge with the creek is moss-covered. Their shadows provide shelter for the new river troutlings each spring.

Over the years I have sat on their surfaces, dangling bare toes in the cold waters. They have become lifelong, enduring friends, these rocks.

Once in a life, a person ought to concentrate their mind upon the remembered earth, give themselves up to a particular landscape, look at it from as many angles as possible. They ought to imagine touching it at every season and listen to the sounds that are made upon it. Imagine the creatures there and all the faintest motions of the wind. Recollect the glare of noon
and all the colors of the dawn and dusk.

~N. Scott Momaday, Kiowa/Cherokee, winner of  the Pulitzer Prize~

Sometimes what you see is not there

Not a dead owl

At first glance, this appeared to be a tragedy: soft downy fuzz, longer tail feathers. Had an owl met its match with a bobcat? Oh, no!

And then I took a second look. Not tail feathers at all, but rather, Eucalyptus leaves. Not down but cottonwood tree cotton. Whew!

I like owls. And I like bobcats. I’m glad they didn’t meet here.

Silence is the absolute balance
of body, mind and spirit.
Silence is the cornerstone of character
and its fruits are
self-control, true courage, endurance, patience, dignity and reverence.

~Ohiyesa, Santee Sioux

The direction of light

holes to let the light in

We are used to looking straight ahead as we gaze into the distance. But sometimes it is useful to look up.

Here, a shaded walkway is transformed into a beautiful design of latticework that creates a dual pattern: looking up, looking down.

Light that speaks! An artist’s chiaroscuro dream.

Painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt,
and poetry is painting that is felt
rather than seen.

~Leonardo da Vinci~

 

The Marie Kondo of the insect world

termite skyscrapers

In the desert, termite colonies thrive. It never gets cold enough to kill them, and sometimes there may be as many as twenty colonies in a yard–or under a house!

After a recent rain, I found these two Lilliputian skyscrapers in a stream bed. Although the water had dried out on the surface, underneath, there was just enough moisture in the earth to allow these tiny bits of sand to cling together when the termites carried them out of their home.

The efficiency of the termite colony is amazing. The insects carry the grains just far enough from the opening that sand doesn’t fall back into the burrow, thus building these tiny mounds. How do they know how to do such an amazing task?

Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.
~William Morris~

 

Stories in tombstones

Cemetery markers

When I visit in the eastern part of the country, I love to visit old cemeteries. So many old stories are contained in the family plots!

This one interested me, in that all of the gravestones seemed to be tightly contained behind a walled barrier, as though saying, this is our plot, all ours, and don’t you intrude.

It reminded me of some Southern civil war cemeteries where the Southerners were buried in one section of the park, and the Northern “intruders” were buried in another.

It seems that even in death, it is difficult for some folks to acknowledge that we are more alike than different.

The only difference between a rut and a grave
are the dimensions.

~Ellen Glasgow~

 

 

The road less traveled–recently

I discovered this scene in Zion National Park at the golden hour of sunset. What is special to me are the leaves scattered in the path. It appears that the route, although well-traveled in the past, hasn’t seen much action recently.

That, for me, makes it irresistible. What fun, to discover something of value that others may have ignored!

The earth seemed to move with me.
I found a new source of power and beauty,
a source I never knew existed.

~Sir Roger Bannister,
first person to run a four-minute mile~