The wholeness of water in the desert

desert oasis

I was fortunate to come across this open water near Tavasci Marsh at sunset, just when the world was golden.

It reminded me how beautiful our planet is, in all its changing moods.

Water and light, combining to bring joy in the moment.

A photograph is a secret about a secret.
The more it tells you, the less you know.

~Diana Arbus~

Going against the grain

Going against the grain

My cat Foxy is small, but fiercely independent. She knows what she likes when she likes it.

For this afternoon nap, she chose to sleep crossways in this cat basket with one ear completely covered, even though, clearly, the right way to do it was just the opposite. But who is to say which might be more suitable for her?

I learn a lot, watching my cats.

Men wanted for hazardous journey.
Small wages, bitter cold. Long months off complete darkness. Constant danger. Safe return doubtful. Honor and recognition in case of success.

~Sir Earnest Henry Shackleton~

 

Drawn by a giant

Drawn by a giant

The constantly changing perspective of Alice in Wonderland delights me. First she is tiny and the world is huge. All of a sudden she grows immense and everything around her has shrunk.

Her image has stuck with me as I take pictures, and it sometimes creates dizzying shifts of perspective. As I viewed this desert cliff side, I thought of her possible Southwestern counterpart.

Imagine, if you will, a gigantic artist, coloring this desert scene. He settles carefully into a cross-legged position in the arroyo, trying to fit in amongst the cottonwoods and alder trees.

Out of an immense pencil box he picks up a piece of charcoal and carefully smudges the vermilion cliffs with desert varnish. Then he selects a white pen and limns the outlines of the Octotillo, as it waits for the summer rains…

Imagination must be visited constantly,

or else it begins to become restless and

emits strange bellows at embarrassing moments. Ignoring it only makes it grow larger and noisier.
~Patricia McKillip~

It’s coming! Loud and clear!

Death in Copper Town Audible

For several months now, I’ve been in contact with a talented vocal artist, Amy Otteson.

She has agreed to record the entire Pegasus Quincy series for Audible! She is hard at work on the first book of the series, Death at Copper Town.

You’ll be the first to know when it’s “in the can” and ready to be ordered on Audible through the Amazon marketplace. Soon.

A new chapter in the Pegasus Quincy saga begins!

What if time is fluid?

ancient ollas

Even with parts missing where the light shines through, the inherent beauty and grace of these ancient ollas, or water jars, is unforgettable. They are a reminder of our past as a human species. Our yesterday.

But they could be part of our future as well. A new physics theory asserts that time may be fluid, allowing the past, present, and future to exist simultaneously.

If that is true, somewhere, a thousand years from now, an archaeologist is fitting together broken teacups and barbecue platters, wondering what our civilization must have been like! Our tomorrow.

A people without history is like
wind through buffalo grass.

~Teton Sioux proverb~

Gargoyle in the desert

I discovered this pink gargoyle in the middle of the Phoenix historic district, and my mind went back to a recent trip to Notre Dame in Paris where a lot of his cousins live.

Perhaps this little guy taking a vacation, getting away from the cold winter mist near the Seine!

In the middle of winter, I at last discovered that there was in me an invincible summer.
~Albert Camus~

 

Where Blackjack lives

Montezuma's Castle

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!

Just in time inventory

javelina and peach tree

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~

Breathless with the delight

being a child again

How long has it been

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~

 

 

 

A congregation at war with itself

A church with a fence around it

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.

Funny, how fiction can sometimes mirror reality.