Thursday, September 28, 2006

Redrock Country, Sedona, AZ

Some of the 1st views driving into Sedona, AZ.
In this area, there are many vortex sites
What is a vortex?
A vortex is a place where the Earth is at its healthiest and most alive. The remarkable natural beauty of the area is the physical indicator of its aliveness. More importantly, the aliveness shows up in an increased energy that is present. The energy acts as an amplifier, magnifying what we bring to it on the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual levels.

Consider one of the most significant advances in scientific thought of recent time. Having reviewed the cycles and changes in the geological, atmospheric and climatic aspects of our planet, scientists have begun to consider that the Earth itself is a living organism. Ironically, this is exactly what ancient peoples who have lived close to the land have said for centuries, and what environmentalists have been suggesting for decades. The Earth is alive.

Welcome to Sedona
Driving into Red Rock Country, Sedona, AZ

Chapel of the Holy Cross
Built in 1956, it was the idea of Margaret Staude, who once wrote:
"The doors of this chapel will ever be open to one and all, regardless of creed"
This is another vortex site
Helicopter View of Secret Canyon

View from Male Vortex Viewing Site

One of the many Views of Sedona Bluffs

View from Sky Ranch Lodge

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

View of Downtown Sedona to Oak Creek Canyon

Monday, September 25, 2006

The Invitation

It doesn¹t interest me what you do for a living.
I want to know what you ache for and if you dare to dream of meeting
your heart¹s longing.
It doesn¹t interest me how old you are.
I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love for your
dream, for the adventure of being alive.
It doesn¹t interest me what planets are squaring your moon...
I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow if
you have been opened by life¹s betrayals or have become shriveled and
closed from fear of further pain.
I want to know if you can sit with pain mine or your own without
moving to hide it
or fade it, or fix it.
I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own, if you can
dance with wildness
and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes
without cautioning us to
be careful, be realistic, remember the limitations of being human.
It doesn¹t interest me if the story you are telling me is true.
I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself.
If you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own
If you can be faithless and therefore trustworthy.
I want to know if you can see Beauty even when it is not pretty,
every day.
And if you can source your own life from its presence.
I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine, and
still stand at the edge of the lake and shout to the silver of the
full moon, `Yes!'.
It doesn¹t interest me to know where you live or how much money you
I want to know if you can get up after the night of grief and
despair, weary and bruised to the bone, and do what needs to be done
to feed the children.
It doesn¹t interest me who you know, or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand in the center of the fire with me
and not shrink back.
It doesn¹t interest me where or what or with whom you have studied.
I want to know what sustains you from the inside when all else falls
I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly
like the company you keep in the empty moments.

© Oriah Mountain Dreamer

Saturday, September 09, 2006

The Last Hunt

My favorite place for hunting and relaxing, years ago was in the river valley where I grew up and lived for 15 years. The valley is located just below a ledge of limestone that ran for miles along the Peshtigo River, north of Harmony. This mile wide valley followed the river and is bordered with a limestone outcropping that rises 50 – 60 feet on the western side. At the top of the ledge, I could see for miles, across the river, beyond more farms and glimpse the Tamarack bog in the distance. During the peak of fall colors the beauty of the valley amplified. Three families lived in this side of the river valley and called it home, two of them farming the land, and 1 hobby farm owned then by my parents. The crops in the fields were now stored in the barns, and only the stubble of the cornrows showed, as if waiting for the covering of the 1st snowfall. Every so often the lazy flow of the river cutting through the valley peaked out from the colorful hues of the trees, and along with the view of the fall foliage, it was, as always, breath taking.

The foliage was bursting forth in fall colors with the golden hues of the maples, along with the amber, orange, and red flags of higher branches in the trees as if shouting, “notice me.” The shimmering yellow of the poplars, birches, and ash, and the dark greens of the evergreens dotting the landscape - much like exclamation points - added more colors to the canvas of my minds eye for years to come. This ledge of limestone became my mother’s byline and title (under the ledge) of many articles in her writings as she entered the areas writing contests.

It was the start of Thanksgiving week, traditional deer opener in Wisconsin, and I had spent the previous two weekends scouting where I wanted to be opening morning at daybreak. I had selected the perfect place to lay in wait in the middle of 40 acres of woods at the crest of a knoll, in a comfortable crotch of a Sugar Maple tree as the best place to ambush a wily buck.

I had driven from Hudson, Ws. the day before, and it was unseasonably warm with the temps in the 60's! I arose at 3AM to have breakfast, pour a thermos of coffee, and to get dressed in my blaze orange gear. I hiked out to my tree about a good mile away, crossing a gravel lane, a harvested cornfield, a small gurgling creek, and walked into the woods. It was still dark out, and as I walking and listening to the crunch of the leaves underfoot, I heard a rustling of the brush to my right and figured I had spooked a deer from its bed. Evidently, my selected hunting area was also a desirable place for deer to bed down for the night. I felt the rise of the terrain to the knoll, walked to the top of it, and there was the Maple tree. I climbed the tree into the branches, and pulled up my rifle and made myself comfortable. As dawned approached, I heard a squirrel chatter, then jump into my tree, and exited from the other side into another tree. He was on his way, to the distant oak tree by the field. The woods came alive with sounds of the forest, as more wildlife started moving about, and the birds were singing their songs welcoming the crack of dawn. Slowly, the silence returned to the woods and surrounding areas became peaceful, and in the silence my mind I wandered as if in another time. I had a panoramic view and there was very little I could not see. I watched, waited, and listened, always on the alert for my buck to walk into view. Suddenly, I heard noise coming in from my left, looked and there was a hunter walking below the rise of my knoll. He did not see me, and as he disappeared, I realized any deer in the area would also lay low now and this would be a good time to pour myself a cup of coffee from my thermos.

Another couple of hours passed, and I heard a gunshot off to the east at the edge of the woods, and someone yelling, “I got it.” The voice sounded like one of my neighbor friends from the valley. Soon other voices joined the exchange and I knew it was the neighborhood hunting party, and figured I may as well get down and join the group. I made sure I made some noise along with talking, etc, so as not to surprise anyone, and walked out of the brush at the edge of the woods. A neighbor had shot a doe, and was talking about doing a drive to clean out the woods as he had seen a buck slip into that area moments after he shot the doe. He decided he would carry the deer on his shoulders out of the woods, and he would then post at the top of the ledge on the road. Since, we knew each other, I joined up with them, and we posted 4 hunters, Sam, Jim, Clyde, and Kenny on the other side along the road, with Sam being down a farm lane where he could have good shooting if they flushed out in the cornfields by him. Sam had been injured in a farming accident several years before and had lost his right eye, so he liked clear shots. The fields would give him that opportunity. The woods followed a creek bed, along the limestone outcropping, and I was to walk just at the top of the ledge.

Since the wooded area was only about 150 feet wide at this point, another friend, Charlie, would walk below me along the edge of the field and creek. Thus we had 2 drivers, Charlie and myself, for flushing the deer. We had walked for 15 minutes and were within 100 yards of the road, and as planned, the buck along with two does flushed into the field, except they were at the top of the ledge and not in the cornfield below us. The buck would be an easy peasy shots for me, and I could already see him hanging in the tree, but for the moment some patience also was needed as a farmhouse was now silhouetting the deer. I calmly waited for the deer to move more to my left and I aligned my sights on the buck’s brisket and followed his movement. Finally he was almost to the area of a clear shot with open fields behind him.

I took a deep breathe and just as I was ready to squeeze the trigger, I heard a buzzing sound, much like a deer fly or angry bees, then another - and another -whizzing by my head and chest. These were followed by the cracks of a rifle from below, and another bullet hit the rocks in front of me, spraying my pants legs with rock fragments, did I then start to realize what was happening. It was as if I was in a dream, and nothing was making any sense. I was ready to shoot; yet I was now the target! Or, at least I was in the way of the intended target. Time seemed to stand still, as I froze with nowhere to hide. Charlie, by this time had dived behind a log and was looking up the ledge towards me, motioning for me to hit the deck, yet I had nowhere to go.

However, this buck was making the most of this turn of events, and in my dream-like state, I just stared at him as he scampered back into the woods. The fun of this hunt had evaporated in an instant and as I emptied my gun, I looked down the hill; Charlie was still lying behind a log! I focused down the road, and there Sam was yelling and gesturing wildly, that if I would not shoot the buck, he would do it from his position. He had tried firing around me to get the buck himself! I looked to see if I had been hit, and did not see any wounds. I walked out of those woods shaking and speechless, but my mind was swearing a blue streak, and as I hit the road, Sam looked at me, and I angrily shot at him, "that he was lucky, that I did not shoot back, but next time I would!” Then my mind and tongue became one and I unleashed a verbal onslaught aimed directly at him. He just shrugged his shoulders and said he did not know why I was so upset. That was the last time I talked to him.

Years have passed, and as well as a decade or two, and as I reflect on this last hunt, I know that that day, I had kept several guardian angels busy. Every fall, as I look out onto the panorama views of golden hues, flaming reds, and green exclamation points, my new choice of weapons seems so much wiser. With the camera, I can snap a picture, and still experience the joy of being close to nature, and leave the area as I found it. Peaceful and quiet.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Poetry Thursday

The leaves had a wonderful frolic.
They danced to the wind's loud song.
They whirled, and they floated, and scampered.
They circled and flew along.

The moon saw the little leaves dancing.
Each looked like a small brown bird.
The man in the moon smiled and listened,
And this is the song he heard.

The North Wind is calling, is calling,
And we must whirl round and round,
And then, when our dancing is ended,
We'll make a warm quilt for the ground.

- Author Unknown

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Welcoming Autumn

It's Time To Light The Evening Fires
The hills are bright with maples yet;
But down the level land
The beech leaves rustle in the wind
As dry and brown as sand.
The clouds in bars of rusty red
Along the hill-tops grow,
As in the still sharp air the frost
Is like a dream of snow.
The berries of the briar-rose
Have lost their rounded pride,
The bittersweet chrysanthemums
Are drooping heavy-eyed.
The cricket grows more friendly now,
The dormouse sly and wise,
Hiding away in the disgrace
Of nature from men's eyes.
The pigeons in black wavering lines
Are swinging toward the sun,
And all the wide and withered fields
Proclaim the summer done.
His store of nuts and acorns now
The squirrel hastes to gain,
And sets his house in order for
The winter's dreary reign.
'Tis time to light the evening fire,
To read good books and sing
The low and lovely songs that breathe
Of the eternal spring
Alice Cary

What Planet are You From?

I Am From Neptune

You are dreamy and mystical, with a natural psychic ability.
You love music, poetry, dance, and (most of all) the open sea.
Your soul is filled with possibilities, and your heart overflows with compassion.
You can be in a room full of friendly people and feel all alone.
If you don't get carried away with one idea, your spiritual nature will see you through anything.