This is Montezuma’s Castle, which is not technically a castle and most definitely was not owned by Montezuma, who never traveled this far north from Mexico.
It was, however, home to a resident Arizonan, one Blackjack the rattlesnake. He was a relatively docile black-tailed rattlesnake, and because Montezuma’s Castle is a National Monument, he was a member of the Protected Wildlife Clan.
The park crew painted his tail red so that they could track him, and at last count had moved him over 50 times from his favorite sunny snoozing point in the middle of the visitor’s trail.
This was too good a story not to pass on, so Blackjack shows up as a special critter that Peg Quincy has to relocate in PERIL OF SILVER NIGHTSHADE. I felt I had the right to “transport” Blackjack one last time, given that Montezuma never lived in this Castle, either!
I once lived near a gully that served as a major byway for wildlife. Through it came bobcats who liked to sit on the big rocks and sun themselves, rattlesnakes who would park themselves underneath my bird feeders and wait for dinner, and these guys. If there is one thing that javelina like better than prickly pear cactus, it has to be peaches!
Originally I thought they had these little calendars marked with when the peaches would be ready to eat, but then I found out it is their remarkable memories of where the good stuff is, and their amazing sense of smell.
They know, even before me and the green beetles, when the fruit is ripe and ready to eat.
We are like islands in the sea,
separate on the surface, but connected in the deep. ~William James~
since you’ve had a friend
wind you up in a swing
and then let go
and you spin so fast
that suddenly you are staying in one spot
but the world is spinning
in a widening circle around you
and you are breathless with delight?
The swings are still there.
It is the greatest shot of adrenaline to be doing
what you’ve wanted to do so badly.
You almost feel like you could
fly without the plane. ~Charles Lindberg~
Some of you have asked me if the places I describe in the Pegasus Quincy mystery series exist. Yes, many of them do. For example, Peg’s grandfather HT lives in the actual house in Mingus–which is close to Jerome, Arizona 😉 –that used to be a boarding house for miners. It featured a prominent outside staircase, so that the miners didn’t have to bother the family who owned the house.
And what about the church in BLOOD IN TAVASCI MARSH where the funeral for Cal Nettle was held? You will recall that the entire family attended: the estranged brother, the sister trying to outlive tragedy, the grieving widow, and the very pregnant mistress.
That location, too, was based on an actual building located high on a hill in Cottonwood, Arizona and here it is. At the time I took this picture, it was, I believe, a decommissioned Catholic church.
What struck me when I took this picture was how this barrier fencing effectively barred anyone from entering. Especially a family divided against itself, like the warring Nettle clan.
One afternoon I looked up to see two very different clouds. One was brilliant in the sunshine, each layer clearly marked with almost luminous attention. I reveled in its beauty. The second, almost directly overhead was dark, threatening, ominous.
And then I stopped for a moment to reconsider. If I were under that bright cloud, perhaps it would be the threatening one, while the one I’m standing under now would be the bright one.
What view we take of life depends on our perspective!
It is not what you look at that matters.
It’s what you see. ~Henry David Thoreau~