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~

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~

The ebb and flow of the sea–and life

The ocean at Monterey

The late afternoon sun was about to set behind the mountains–can you see the shadows?

But as I stood there watching, the surf on this rocky coast near Monterey, California had its own agenda. Endlessly the water attacked the rocks, foaming, rushing, churning.

I love experiencing the ocean. It allows me to be still near its constant motion. It moves, and I don’t have to!

The cure for anything is salt water:
sweat, tears, or the sea.

~Karen Blixen (Isak Dineson)~

Half and half

fall leaves with snow

Wouldn’t it be nice if nature presented us seasons like the calendar does: On this day Fall begins. On this day, Winter arrives.

But it doesn’t happen that way, of course. Some days she feels like warm weather and zephyr breezes. On others, she pouts behind fog and rain.

And on some days she refuses to make up her mind and splits the difference!

The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.
Don’t go back to sleep.
~Rumi~

Book Review: Dawn McKenna – Forgotten Coast Florida Mystery Series

The forgotten coast series Dawn McKennaBecause I write mysteries that strongly identify with place, I am on the alert for other authors that do the same thing. The best I’ve found recently is the author of the Forgotten Coast Florida Suspense Series. I’d like to give a shout-out to Dawn McKenna!

For example, here is a selection from the beginning of LOW TIDE: “The seagulls bounced around him, lighting just long enough to snatch up the pieces of bread, then hovering in the air, wings whipping, to wait for more…To his mind, it was one of the few places left that actually felt like Florida, with its century-old brick and clapboard shops and houses, the marina filled with shrimp and oyster boats and people who couldn’t care less about Disney World.”

Ms. McKenna takes an interesting approach to her series, in that the first four books take the time you rarely have with a mystery series to introduce you to a unique set of characters who live on the Florida coast, a romance that delights with its unfolding, and enough suspense to survive a hurricane!

You can buy each of the first four books of the series, LOW TIDE, RIPTIDE, WHAT WASHES UP, and LANDFALL separately. But if you’re like me, you’ll be hooked after the first one. Save yourself some money and buy the set.

Writing teacher Donald Maass in THE EMOTIONAL CRAFT OF FICTION says the way to pull readers into your writing is to engage them emotionally. Ms. McKenna does just that.

Highly recommended!

Split color wheel with analogous hues

blue green lavender gold

I was delighted to discover this tableau!

Can you see the color wheel? Green, blue, lavender, and then a whirl of the wheel over to the yellow-gold side. Just perfect.

My former art teachers would love it. I did, too.

I can’t understand it when people say
they don’t like a particular color.
How on earth can you not like a color?

~Dale Chihuly~

 

Life suspended between the boundaries

chipmunk

I love that exact moment when a wild creature acknowledges my existence. They look at me, and for a moment time is suspended and one species recognizes the other.

Trees, of course, are also aware of our being. Mere plants as well.

Okay, then, what about the rocks. Do the rocks know I exist? Can they speed up their slow lifespan to mine for just an instant to say, oh, there’s another one of those human things? Or are they just too busy in their rock world to care?

My life has no purpose, no direction, no aim,
no meaning, and yet I’m happy.
I can’t figure it out.
What am I doing right?

~Charles Schultz, cartoonist~

Perfect symmetry

water symmetry

Upside down, right side up, left to right, right to left. If you’ve ever noticed, we don’t often find (almost) perfect symmetry in nature. That’s why, when I found this vista, I was delighted.

Symmetry creates a comforting predictability. Two by two, like the story of Madeleine living in the convent. Or Noah’s animals in the ark. As children begin to explore a continually new, exciting world, they need to return occasionally to what they know.

Every up has a down. Every night has a day. Shared pairs of togetherness.

One of these things is not like the others,
One of these things just doesn’t belong,
~Sesame Street Song~

 

Doesn’t take much to keep me happy

vase rock hedge

Abiquiu, New Mexico is north of Albuquerque, north of Santa Fe, even north of Taos. Georgia O’Keeffe discovered it and spent years there creating her own artistic way of seeing flowers, and nature, and blue sky.

When I visited her Ghost Ranch, the isolation and peace of the country allowed me to slow down and see what was actually in front of me, as well.

Gray, beige, ochre.

Rock, pottery, plant.

It doesn’t take much to keep me happy.

The world is full of magical things,
patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.
~Eden Phillpots~

 

The intensity of an Arizona sunset

Picture of Arizona Sunset

The quality of light in Arizona is intense, and never more so than at sunset during monsoon season. For two summer months, the afternoon clouds build, fierce thunderstorms crash and threaten. Then it is over. Or is it?

As a photographer, I’ve learned to be patient. If I wait out the storm, and stick around for the aftermath, a brilliantly hued sunset often occurs. It is time well-spent.

The end of summer is always hard on me. Trying to cram in all the goofing off I’ve been meaning to do.
~Calvin and Hobbes~