young skunk cabbage
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Always looking for more

If you look at what you have in life, you’ll always have more. If you look at what you don’t have in life, you’ll never have enough. ~ Oprah Winfrey These young skunk cabbage were flourishing on a trail near the Museum of Northern Arizona one morning and I was struck by their vitality. There…

San Francisco Peaks
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Nothing is fixed in life’s changing pattern

Life at its best is a flowing, changing process in which nothing is fixed. ~ Carl Rogers The San Francisco Peaks near Flagstaff, Arizona were formed from the jagged edges of a volcano that exploded many thousands of years ago. The Peaks rise to an elevation of over twelve thousand feet and are large enough…

field daisies against lichen
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Small things make all the difference

Life isn’t a matter of milestones, but of moments. ~Rose Kennedy These ox-eye daisies found a home in the Coconino forest near Flagstaff, Arizona. No one had planted them, and the ground was poor and thin. Yet they thrived, moment to moment. If I went back there a year from now, a sister plant would…

firs and vista at Snow Bowl
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Savor the weekend moments

Each day comes bearing its own gifts. Untie the ribbons. ~Ruth Ann Schabacker   Because my weekdays are filled with to-do lists and have-to’s, I cultivate a sense of slowing down on the weekends. The walks I take are longer. The pauses to talk to my cats are more frequent. I smell the air like…

Road to Leupp Arizona
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Change makes the life journey unpredictable and delicious

Out beyond ideas of wrong doing and right doing There is a field. I’ll meet you there. ~Rumi I once went exploring a side road on the Navajo Reservation leading to Leupp, Arizona. The road went up the hill following its own inclinations, sometimes bearing left to miss a pothole, sometimes right to veer around a…

West Fork Canyon
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Wanting to fly away

Bird flight is a miraculous event. I once had the privilege of watching two golden eagles in mating flight over the Red Rocks of Sedona. They swooped and swirled, and at the very last moment the female turned on her back in mid-flight and they joined, the male carrying both of them with his strong…

Sedona dawn clouds arizona
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Early morning walk in Sedona

I started the walk before dawn, collecting clouds as I went. Wispy ones darted in and out of the red rock formations; others nestled in puddles after midnight rains. The pine needles had felted into heavy mats that softened the ground beneath my feet. They created soft nests for windfalls of storm-blown pine cones. The…

Clear Creek Verde Valley Arizona
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The waters of the Verde Valley

Although Arizona has a desert climate, much of the Verde Valley is a riparian zone with creeks such as Oak, Sycamore, Clear, Wet and Dry Beaver Creeks and even a river, The Verde.     The Verde Valley has also marshes. I used Tavasci Marsh as the setting of my second mystery, Blood in Tavasci…

Tree pioneers of the Verde Valley
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Tree pioneers of the Verde Valley

When I set out to write the Pegasus Quincy mystery series, I knew the first one, Death in Copper Town, had to take place in a mining town on the slopes of the Verde Valley. To make it realistic, I had to include the Ailanthus trees ubiquitous to that part of the Valley. Apple trees in the…

Schnebly Hill vista
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The peace of rain

It was raining when I woke this morning. Not an electricity-charged toad-strangler, but a quiet rain, a thoughtful rain. I considered not walking at all. I was cranky and stiff after a fitful night’s sleep. It had been a rough week and I still carried stress in my neck and shoulders. But I grab an…