Sedona’s Connection to the Sea. Visiting Sedona Arizona in 2004, I was completely taken by its natural beauty. Hiking there was phenomenal and the sense of peace, amazing. I had hoped to return. Finally, this past April I had that chance. While there I was reminded that millions of years ago Sedona was under the sea. As the water receded, it left lines of color and draw-dropping scenery of iron-rich red spires and other unique rock formations. Fossilized marine animals, sea shells and sharks teeth can be found here.
This area was discovered centuries ago by Native Americans who made Sedona their home. Ancient ruins, pictographs and petroglyphs can be viewed at two protected Native American heritage sites. While visiting the Palatki Native American Heritage site, I was greeted by two gopher snakes that crossed my path. One crossed on the left, the other to the right. It felt like a choreographed welcoming dance of the snakes.
Wildlife of Sedona. Yes, there are some poisonous snakes and insects in the area, but gopher snakes are not poisonous and are really quite beautiful. Luckily, no rattlesnakes were heard or seen while there. Still, one does need to take care and be aware when hiking in Sedona. Each time I visit I have interesting wildlife experiences. On my first trip there in 2004, as we turned onto the highway leading to Sedona an owl flew across the windshield. Then in April 2017, a similar experience occurred with a hawk. This year, it was a yellow warbler flying past my windshield as I turned onto to the highway Sedona. Driving late at night, I saw a pack of boar-like javelina going through trash dumpsters.While hiking in Oak Creek Canyon, Raven soared majestically through canyon, riding the air currents. On my first visit, while offering someone Reiki Reiju (Japanese for attunement, an important part of learning Reiki Ryōho face-to-face, a coyote stood outside the natural circle of rocks I had chosen for this purpose, and a hawk circled above.
Beautiful dessert flowers, stunning sunrise and sunsets, and the occasional rainbow adds to the wonder of Sedona. Spring monsoons can suddenly appear. One night I drove to a plateau, hoping to see sunset from a lesser known vantage point than the frequented ‘airport vortex.‘ (Vortexes are said to be an area of concentrated energy. I tend to avoid the commercialized and touristy vortex sites, preferring out-of-the-way quiet spots of natural beauty which can be found throughout the area.) Even the locals thought that afternoon clouds and a predicted rain storm made seeing sunset doubtful. Still, I was optimistic. Soon, a monsoon moved through the canyon, the winds shook and rattled my car to the point I thought it might tip over. My thought was, ‘if the storm stops and the sun does come out, it will be a beautiful sunset.’ Sure enough; the sun came out .. followed by this beautiful end-to-end, double rainbow. Well worth the wait!
Connections to Gloucester MA Found in Sedona. At the Palatki Native American Heritage site, I met Park Rangers Jake and wife Kathy. They live part of the year in New Hampshire and were in Sedona for winter. Jake was in Gloucester in the 1970’s while sailing to Russia on the Te Vega. Te Vega, a two-masted, gaff-rigged auxiliary schooner was once owned by the Landmark School in Beverly Farms, MA. A book about Te Vega can be found on Amazon.
Art, Crafts, Pottery and Jewelry. Sedona was settled in the early 1900’s by farmers, followed by ranchers. Now, tourism fuels the economy and the city is populated by an eclectic group of people, residents and tourists alike. Local residents related that they “miss the cowboy days, before the influx of ‘hippies, psychics and healers.'”
Weekend Art Shows. ‘Pop-up’ art shows are a great place to find handcrafted art, like the wooden cross inlaid with turquoise seen above.
Handcrafted turquoise jewelry and pottery. Native American artists can be found along the highway on the left-hand side as you head north on Route 89A towards Flagstaff. Here, money from your purchases goes directly to support Native Americans artisans and their heritage. I bought beautiful pieces from Cheryl and her mother, members of the Diné (named Navajo by the Spaniards).
Seemingly out-of-place, a Buddhist stupa rises from the desert at the base of a mountain just about one mile from a cowboy church. Here, prayers (and reiki) are offered, thought to be ‘carried by the wind’ to those in need. Meditate to the sound of birds and wind chimes and enjoy a wonderful sense of peace. Or, stop by the Chapel of the Holy Cross, built into the side of the red cliffs in 1956; another special place for introspection, reflection, meditation, and prayer.