The beauty in the edge

leaves of autumn

I was an enthusiastic tree climber as a youngster, mounting branch by branch to peek into birds’ nests and feel the bark against my fingers.

Nowadays, my leaf viewing is more distant.

But in Fall we get to see more than just color with fallen leaves. We view them, once again, up close and personal. When I find a perfect leaf, single and individual, I stop, compelled to admire its edges.

Life is a great big canvas.
Throw all the paint on it you can.
~Danny Kaye~

Keep your eye on the sky

Sunlight behind the clouds

I had just come out of the grocery store. My mind was filled with eggs and celery and pork cutlets. Then I turned around and saw this.

I was transfixed, and so was everyone else in the parking lot. We stopped and stared. And then turned and nodded to each other, aware that what had transfixed us had halted others, too.

For one moment, we were united in a community of beauty. Water vapor and sunlight. Transformed just for us.

Happiness sneaks in through a door
you didn’t know you left open.
~John Barrymore~

 

Everything vanishes if you wait long enough

Picture of Coffee Pot Rock, Sedona, AZ

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~

In the eye of the beholder

pipe and wire

Some people collect agate marbles or Japanese netsuke. Martha Stewart collects everything!

My goals are more modest. I collect textures. So when I found this abstract image of a pipe and electric wire on an old stucco wall, I was delighted. It wasn’t a Mondrian or a Rothko, but in my book, it was pretty darn close.

It doesn’t take much to make me happy.

My formula for living is quite simple.
I get up in the morning and I go to bed at night.
In between I occupy myself as best I can.
~Cary Grant~

 

 

The tracks we leave in the sand

tracks in the sand

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~

Where I need to be

Buddha Beach

There is a quiet spot, just up Oak Creek from the more famous Red Rock Crossing, which has the informal name of Buddha Beach.

Sedona is a spiritual community, filled with vortexes and medicine wheels. And hoodoos of rocks arranged in balance points. This was one.

The morning was still with no one else around when I took this picture. The serenity of this quiet place fills me with awe.

Sometimes peace doesn’t come to you; you have to go hunting for it.

I may not have gone where I intended to go,
but I think I have ended up where I need to be.

~Douglas Adams~

What stoves and gargoyles have in common

old stove

What delights me about this old stove, in addition to the antique vacuum beside it, are the curves and swirls and decorations on the metal panels. After all these years, long after the designer of the appliance has passed away, these remain.

They remind me of the gargoyles placed high upon the cathedral roofs in medieval Europe. These immense churches could take a century to complete, sometimes being worked upon by generations of stone masons.

The roofs needed spouts to carry the water away from the slates, and so gargoyles were born. They could have been simple drainage spouts like we use on our roofs today.

Instead, these stone masons made a choice.

These stone gargoyles, hundreds of them, became elaborate creations, carved and placed where most people would never see them, monuments to the stone carvers who created them.

Just like this stove. The designers didn’t have to add all of those curlicues and furbishes. It probably ran the price of the stove up at least another nickel or two. But because they did, a thing of beauty as well as utility was born.

We are all creators, every day, in our own way.

To my mind, creativity is creativity, whether you’re making art or running a company. Anyone who does anything well is an artist.
~Dale Chihuly~

 

Above and below the clouds

Clouds over Black Canyon

Cloud edges in the desert appear sharper, because the air is dryer. A monsoon thunderhead can build in minutes, billowing thousands of feet into the air as you watch, and no two are alike.

A favorite cloud-watching spot of mine is Sunset Point, about an hour north of Phoenix. Here, the overlook vista plunges you thousands of feet to the tiny establishment of Bumblebee below, and then across the valley rises to the Bradshaw Mountains, home of a historic silver bonanza.

Life is surpassingly interesting, revealing, and awe-provoking when we show up for it whole heartedly and pay attention.
~ Jon Kabat-Zinn

Rock Hard

red sandstone cliffs

Sandstone is a soft rock, its edges worn smooth by the wind and summer cloudbursts. The red color is formed by a thin layer of iron pyrite surrounding each grain of sand. But seeing the rock, prevalent in the Four Corners area of Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah, is no substitute for feeling it.

On a hot summer day, embrace the rock. Feel its strength, its rough-smoothness, its solid core that existed before you arrived and will be there long after you are not.

When you see a grain of sand, you see all possible worlds with all their vast rivers and mountains. When you see a drop of water, you see the nature of all the waters of the universe. 
~ Huang-Po

 

Slow down, you move too fast

Bosque del Apache

In the winter months, migrating Sand Hill cranes and snow geese flock to the area near Bosque del Apache, drawn by the water and forage.

If you are lucky, you can climb to the top of the observation decks and be surrounded by thousands of beautiful birds. It humbles me to think that these skilled aviators flew their migration paths long before we were here to establish preserves to encourage them.

The birds were there, in a field across from this water. But I paused here instead, entranced by the interplay of reeds, flowing currents and sky. In that moment, the solitude became a cradle holding me.

There is more to life than merely
increasing its speed.

~ Gandhi ~