The shelves and layers.

I’ve just returned from spending a couple of days in Sedona, Arizona.

It is beautiful country there. The mountains and mesas are layered. Noticeably, in some areas. Like a Seven Layer Salad, only better. And I will tell you what, there are some pretty good Seven Layered Salads. But in that place, rests a certain kind of majesty. The glorious and splendid. It settled there a very long time ago, and now it rests, and waits.

It waits for visitors. But it doesn’t mind if we don’t notice. It continues to stand in splendor.

If only one could just snap their fingers and be there. It is the 16 hours of travel time, from door to door, which is a pretty big tradeoff. And then back again.

There is also the seedy part of Sedona too. The endless run of touristy shops, where people flow in and out of doorways, like ants in a fallen honeycomb. Looking for that next bobble of golden nectar. But all of it is like the rest. The same trinkets and t-shirts and postcards, in a maze of shopfronts.

I didn’t bring any of you a souvenir. You didn’t even get one of those t-shirts that say, “My Friend Went To Sedona, And All I Got Was This Crappy T-Shirt.”

Yet. There are certain scenes that stand out in my mind, from those two days. A couple of the couples that we passed. On our way back down the trail, from our hike on Doe Mountain. The first pair were about our age, and I really don’t think they were going to be able to make it up the trail, to the top of the mesa. There were some pretty interesting scrambles to get to the top. It seemed like it might be too much for them. The second couple was from the Far East. They were just getting on to the trail as we were coming off. They had smiles from ear to ear. They also had on bright and sparkly white tennis shoes, and bleach white pants. My guess is they didn’t look that way on the descent.

Another scene that sticks in my vision, was in Jerome, AZ. It is a small town in the Black Hills of Yavapai County, an old Copper Mining Town, with a now-population of 455 people. There are shops and restaurants there. But it is a shambles town. The buildings are run down. The infrastructure is poor. Even still though, people open their stores, with their goods. And the tourists pour in. One “gallery” was operated by the Artist. I wish I had asked his name. The walls were covered from floor to ceiling with his happy paintings. Brightly colored paintings with comical people in various poses and scenes. Glimpses of their vibrant lives, their fascinating existences, caught in a splash of oils on canvas. All up. All merry and gleeful.

And then, on another wall were shelves, also from floor to ceiling. And sitting there were the Artist’s other creations. His dolls. It was quite a juxtaposition. As the dolls might scare someone. Or at the very least, cause ensuing nightmares.

But the Artist seemed very glad to be in his place, in his time and space. With his creations. Sharing little parts of himself with the rest of the world. Hoping that another human will find the connection in his art.

I saw a lot of things while I was there.

And it made me think. We don’t know what is on the trail ahead. We think we want to get somewhere, to some destination. Like the top of the mountain. But we truly don’t know what is going to be on that path, or how it will affect us. Mostly, though, I think, if we take it one step at a time, we can figure out how to put the next foot in front of us.

I also saw that humans are all so very different. We know this, I know. But something resonated here. It is that we truly are Spirits in our human selves. Some of us will never see this. Some of us are figuring this out a little more quickly than others. Some people stand, displaying their very own splendor. And like the mountains, they don’t mind that we might not notice. They act in their very own goodness, because their spirit knows how to shine.


“How far that little candle throws his beams! So shines a good deed in a weary world.”
― William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice


“Goodness is about what you do. Not who you pray to.”
― Terry Pratchett, Snuff


The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science. Albert Einstein