West Fork is one of my favorite places in the whole world. A tributary of Oak Creek Canyon in the Verde Valley of Arizona, this clear stream runs through ponderosa pine and fir trees. Ferns and yellow columbines carpet the ground, and golden eagles nest in its boundary red cliffs.
And, for the inveterate mystery writer, it’s the perfect place for a murder to occur!
Join me in SILENCE IN WEST FORK as Pegasus Quincy works against time to solve a life-or-death murder case. The stakes are high. If she fails, her good friend Shepherd Malone’s daughter may go to prison for life, even if she is innocent.
One of the most famous rock formations near Sedona, Arizona is called Coffee Pot Rock. It is shaped like one of those old-fashioned campfire coffee pots that the cowboy cooks always used to keep at the ready, of course. What could be more fitting for this Western town.
I took this picture from an urban trail, located right in the middle of West Sedona. Later in the day there would be sightseeing helicopters buzzing over head and packs of tourists taking selfies. But just now, with the sun early up and the light still golden-wonderful, it was just me and the red rocks.
Coffee Pot Rock isn’t permanent, though. Just as the Old-Man-in-the-Mountain granite profile in New Hampshire lost its nose a few years back, this icon is slowly fading away, too. What you can’t see from this picture is a neat slice off the back of the spout of the pot, now lying crumbling at the base of the cliff. Nothing lasts forever!
Glance at the sun. See the moon and stars. Gaze at the beauty of the green earth. Now think. ~Hildegard of Bingen~
It was a cold, sunlit morning in November when I took this photograph of the crystal water at Red Rock Crossing. Behind me were the magnificent totems of Cathedral Rock, but I chose to look down, instead.
The soft sandstone had been worn smooth by the creek that ebbs and flows according to the season, and the rock glowed red under the edge of water.
I’ve found in photography that what is behind me may more interesting as the obvious subject in front, as it was this morning.
That happens in life. Focused on what we expect to see, we ignore everything else around us. We lose the beauty gained using “soft eyes.”
I searched through rebellion, drugs, diet, mysticism, religion, intellectualism and much more, only to find that truth is basically simple and feels good, clear and right. ~Chick Corea~
Desert wildflowers are an exercise in impossibility and stubbornness.
They chose where they will grow, often in a mere handful of dirt deposited among the rocks by the spring rains.
And yet attempt to plant and grow these red penstemons, or beardtongues, in your own garden and they often will refuse to sprout, year after year. They rarely can be transplanted. They know where they belong.
We should consider every day lost on which
we have not danced at least once. ~Friedrich Nietzsche~
One of the amazing attributes of the dry washes in Red Rock country is that they are used as major thoroughfares when water isn’t flooding down them. Rabbits, coyotes, deer, even a mountain lion or two, travel at night through what becomes a hikers’ highway in the sunlight!
There are so many worlds that we don’t see, alternate realities that co-exist right under our noses and go undetected. This is one.
Words cannot, and probably will never, replace the richness of life–no matter how
articulately or artfully they are conveyed. ~Jon Kabat-Zinn~