Denise Goldberg's blog

Monday, March 31, 2014

shades of red

I'm so glad Denise found this spot for me to pose for a photo. That's Bell Rock rising high behind me. It's one of the vortex sites in and around Sedona. I'm not sure I felt anything different when we were close to Bell Rock, but some people say you can feel an energy there.

What is the definition of "vortex"?

The term vortex refers to its less common definition: "A place or situation regarded as drawing into its center all that surrounds it." In other words, a vortex is a site where the energy of an area is concentrated. Because Sedona as a whole is known to be a spiritual power spot, a vortex site in Sedona is a place where one can feel Sedona's spiritual energy most strongly.

From the vortex page on the Visit Sedona web site
It's funny... my coat is red and people refer to the red rocks of Sedona. But our colors really don't match!
--- Rover

Rover perched in front of Bell Rock, Sedona

Saturday, March 29, 2014

before the rain

The forecast initially called for a rainy weekend. It changed, pushing the rain off until late this afternoon. Perfect! That gave me time for an afternoon walk on the beach.

I found a magical patterned sky reflecting on wet sand from the outbound tide. What a beautiful sight!

on the beach under magic clouds

Friday, March 28, 2014

Thursday, March 27, 2014


I feel pulled to water, especially when it is seen under an interesting sky. Montezuma Well is a spot I can easily see myself visiting again. I'd like to walk a bit more there, to sit and soak in the beauty.

Montezuma well, reflecting clouds

The climate of this section of Arizona is classified as "cool plateau highlands". The elevation here is higher than that of the zones classified as desert but it still feels like a dry place. Seeing water here was a surprise (to me).

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

magic sky

It was a good last day, one I thought I would be able to share with you as we waited for our plane last night. Somehow there just wasn't time... here's Tuesday's story a day later.

It was a magic sky day, much better than the day before. On Monday the sky was pure blue, no clouds. I liked today much better. The sky was still showing blue but there were some clouds too, much more interesting.

We hiked in a few different places yesterday, always in pretty open places. I thought we were going to start by hiking up Boynton Canyon but we bounced up the shorter Boynton Vista Trail instead. The very small parking lot was full when we arrived and the road was posted with "No Parking" signs. I thought we might not be able to hike there but Denise decided to park in the bigger (and emptier) parking lot for the Fay Canyon trail and just walk down the road. I'm glad we did that because I liked the trail.

Our next stop was at one of the vistas on route 179. We started out and followed a trail labeled "Phone Trail". (I don't know why it was called that since there weren't any phone lines or towers in site.) We stopped to soak in the scenery at one point and Denise spoke with another woman wandering alone. She pointed out the high point of her hike and told us to follow some shallow switchbacks to get to a point where you could see beyond the red rocks in our vision as we were standing there. Oh! That was a pretty walk!

red rocks of Sedona

red rocks of Sedona, Courthouse Butte

Before leaving the red rocks of Sedona we stopped at Yavapai Vista thinking that it was just a viewpoint. There was a viewing spot there but it was also a trailhead. The trail lead to a nice view of Courthouse Butte and Bell Rock - I'm so glad we decided to wander there.

Before heading back to Phoenix and the airport Denise decided to stop at Montezuma Castle National Monument. We saw cliff dwellings high up on the cliff, fascinating. It turns out that there is a second part of the national monument, Montezuma Well. That was 11 miles further north (oops! we passed the exit on our way to Montezuma Castle). We headed north again to find the well.

Montezuma Well

Formed long ago by the collapse of a limestone cavern, over one million gallons of water a day flows continuously into the Well. This constant supply of warm, fresh water provides an aquatic habitat like no other in the world, and has served as an oasis for wildlife and humans for thousands of years.

From the Montezuma Castle National Monument web site

That was a very interesting stop. I think I'd like to do some more bouncing there. Maybe we'll visit again some day.

--- Rover

Monday, March 24, 2014

walking in warmth

We didn't have any set plans today; we just wandered, from Red Rock Loop Road to a drive up Oak Creek Canyon and a walk up the west fork of Oak Creek.

Stopping at Red Rock Crossing solved yesterday's mystery of how people got to the spot across from us when we walked to the end of Verde Valley School Road. We followed a trail to the same rocks that we saw from the other side yesterday. The rocks span the creek but we didn't try to cross them. Denise figured we would get very wet so we stayed on the shore.

We hopped back onto Red Rock Loop Road, stopping pretty quickly when we saw this interesting figure by the side of the road. I just knew Denise would stop!

a creature of Sedona, perhaps a product of a vortex

After finishing the loop road we headed back into town, going through the very touristy area of Uptown Sedona in order to access Oak Creek Canyon. Phew! I was glad when we were through that area (even though I knew we would be coming back that way too...). We stopped at Slide Rock State Park to walk and to watch all of the people in the water. It was warm today, probably in the upper 70s, but Denise didn't feel a need to jump into the creek. Besides, she knew that she wanted to walk another trail...

Next stop was the West Fork of Oak Creek. The trail follows the creek and crosses from one side of the water to the other. There were rocks in the water that could be used as stepping stones. Sometimes Denise had to look hard to find what she thought was the best route across (and on top of) the water. Denise really liked the reflections of the trees in one spot along the trail.

along the West Fork of Oak Creek

After driving back down Oak Creek Canyon we headed back to the south to do a little more walking among the very red rocks.

--- Rover

words on a sign

I saw these words on a sign at Red Rock Crossing, words that encourage connection with simple natural beauty.

Can you hear the stream?
Feel a soft leaf or a sycamore.
Look closely
Discover who lives here.
Experience a whole new world.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

heading north

After our visit with butterflies this morning we jumped on the highway heading north. It was one of those drives where Denise wanted to stop to soak in the landscape but we were driving on an interstate highway (I-17) so we couldn't stop. I thought she did really well fighting the urge to pull over!

We did a bit of climbing (in the car). Phoenix is at 1117 feet if elevation and Sedona is at 4500 feet. We jumped up by following some pretty steep sections on I-17. At the start of one of the steep uphills there was a sign on the road suggesting that drivers turn the air conditioning in their cars off. Oh, and the speed limit changed in that section - it was only 65 miles per hour instead of what appears to be the normal 75. Most cars were moving slower than 65 mph on the steep parts. When we arrived at the top of that first long uphill there were bright yellow flowers covering the flatter parts of the land, in front of taller mountains. That was really pretty; that's when I understood why Denise wanted to stop to capture pictures.

Not too long after we jumped off of the highway we stopped at the visitor center in the Coconino National Forest. It turns out that we didn't need to pay for a pass to the trails since Denise has a National Parks Pass and that is good for National Forests too. She picked up a funny plastic hangtag with a place where she could slot her pass so we can park in the fee required parking lots. We chatted with one of the people working there, getting lots of information on where we should wander.

Our first wandering spot took us down Verde Valley School Road. The road started paved then changed to dirt. We left the car in a lot a little before the road ended, then walked (Denise walked, I bounced!) down to Oak Creek. That's where Denise took the photo of the tree - it's really nice to see trees wearing green leaves!

Next stop, Bell Rock Pathway... We walked again, enjoying the vistas, the emerging wildflowers, and the very red rocks. Beautiful!

--- Rover
green! on Oak Creek

red rocks of Sedona

butterfly morning

We took a little time this morning to visit butterflies before heading to the red rocks of Sedona. We started our day at Butterfly Wonderland in Scottsdale.

It was really steamy in there - it took a good 15 minutes for the haze to clear from the lens on Denise's camera. While we were waiting we walked around and enjoyed all of the colored wings. We had to walk very carefully in the conservatory to avoid the butterflies that were resting on the floor!

Visiting butterflies was a good way to start the day.

--- Rover
butterfly posing

Saturday, March 22, 2014


It's time to wait...

We're at Logan Airport, sitting, looking at the bright day outside and at our airplane parked at the gate. It looks like our flight is going to head out on time. That's a good start to our quick escape, isn't it?

It's funny, our flight today is scheduled to take more than 6 hours but our flight home is scheduled for just under 5 hours. I think that's because of the jet stream.

It's really windy on the ground here - all of the flags were standing straight out from their flagpoles. I hope the flight is smooth; I don't mind if it's a roller-coaster kind of ride but Denise doesn't like that. I just reminded her to take her Dramamine, just in case.

--- Rover

Thursday, March 20, 2014


In honor of the first day of spring, a splash of floral (greenhouse) color...

petals in pink

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

clouds against blue

As I headed out for an early evening walk the sky wore patterns of white clouds against bright blue. Within an hour shades of gray moved in, clouds preparing for (forecasted) rain.

sky painting

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Monday, March 17, 2014


A quiet ocean, a bit of magic in the symmetry of clouds and reflections...

a quiet ocean, a bit of magic in clouds and reflections
at Crane Beach in Ipswich, MA

Sunday, March 16, 2014

traveling? soon!

It's the middle of March. We don't have plans yet for a longish trip for this year but about a month ago Denise realized that she needed a quick escape. She wasn't sure where we should go so I jumped in to help using her long weekend travel "rules". I looked for places in the Southwest within reasonable driving distance from an airport that we could get to on a non-stop flight from either Boston or Manchester.

I was looking for a good place to wander by foot, an interesting place for Denise to play with her camera... I think I found one! We're headed to Sedona, a place we visited a long, long time ago. It was long enough that I don't remember much about the trip - except for the fact that we had one day of sunshine, one of rain, and one of snow. That trip was 10 years ago, and a month earlier than this one. It's still a couple of days too early to see a weather forecast for our travels but I did check the forecast for the next few days in Sedona. It's showing lows in the mid 40s and high in the mid 60s to low 70s. That sounds pretty good to me; when I told Denise she smiled.

Our non-stop flights go between Boston and Phoenix. We land at night so we'll stay in Phoenix that night, saving the driving for the morning. We'll have three days on the ground to play before heading east again on an overnight flight.

Oh! I'm so glad we'll be traveling soon.

--- Rover
at Grassi Lakes
posing in front of Grassi Lakes last summer

Saturday, March 15, 2014

to the beach

With a predicted high temperature of 50 degrees today it sounded like a good beach walking day. I headed to Crane Beach, arriving about an hour after high tide.

When I arrived the sky was quite blue, clear in spots and wearing light clouds in others. While I walked more clouds painted the sky. Magic light created reflections in sand wet by the retreating tide.

magic light, clouds and reflections at Crane Beach
More photos from today's beach walk can be viewed in the gallery Crane Beach 2014 starting with this photo and ending here.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

perfection in yellow

These bright daffodils pull me from today's chill, remind me to dream of spring warmth and flowers.

daffodils, perfection in yellow
in the conservatory at Longwood Gardens

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

patterned petals

An orchid wearing patterned petals shows a subtle beauty.

an orchid wearing patterned petals

Monday, March 10, 2014


I was so focused on wandering among the orchids at Longwood Gardens on Saturday that it didn't cross my mind to ask where the blue poppies were hiding. I didn't see a full exhibit but I did find one pot containing these beautiful blue flowers before I left the conservatory.

a blue poppy about to emerge

blue poppy


I'm always surprised at the difference daylight time makes for my after work walks.

The morning was hard, still very dark when my alarm woke me. The evening? The extra hour of late-day light meant that I was able to head out for my walk and return home before full dark. I like walking in daylight!

Sunday, March 09, 2014

a burst of color

Yesterday's Longwood Gardens visit satisfied my end-of-winter desire to be surrounded by color. Orchids were scattered through the conservatory and there were many other flowers sharing colors as well. The orchids ranged from whites to brights, from simple combinations of color to intricate patterns, all beautiful.


More photos can be viewed in the gallery Longwood Gardens starting with this photo and ending here. The gallery also is the home of photos I took on my first visit to Longwood at the end of December.


Bailey looking, waiting...

Bailey, waiting

Saturday, March 08, 2014

on the wall

bug on a wall


It was a good day for a wander at Longwood Gardens, a day to view orchids in many colors and designs.

orchids, at Longwood Gardens

Thursday, March 06, 2014


If you wander the back corridors of airports you can sometimes find spaces for a bit of solitude.

at Boston's Logan Airport

daffofil under glass

I'm glad I've discovered greenhouses as a source for color as I'm waiting for spring to arrive.

Daffodil posing, spring in a greenhouse...

daffodil posing, spring in a greenhouse

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

robins waiting

Today I noticed a gaggle of robins standing on a small dirt patch surrounded by snow. They were hopping around this morning and they were there this afternoon too. I often see an isolated robin through the winter so I know some must live here year round, but I'll take the larger group as a sign of hope that spring is not too far away.

I'm waiting. I think the robins are waiting too.

Tuesday, March 04, 2014


A single flower in bright pink brings calm to my world.

serenity in a single flower

Monday, March 03, 2014

tea tags

Sometimes there are interesting words in somewhat odd places. Today's words were printed on a tag hanging from a tea bag.

You must learn a new way to think before you can master a new way to be.

- Marianne Williamson -

Oh, you want to know what tea I was drinking? It was Good Earth sweet & spicy caffeine free. It has an interesting taste, and the product description is wonderful: "Is there anything better than when opposites attract? The master blenders behind Sweet & Spicy ® don’t seem to think so. Bursts of sweet orange tangle with spicy cinnamon in a naturally caffeine free Rooibos red tea infusion."


As I stood in a greenhouse filled with ferns I saw one that said "squiggle" to me.


Sunday, March 02, 2014

at high tide

A mid-day high tide pulled me to the coast to walk.

My first glimpse of the water came as I headed seaward along route 101. I was amazed at the unbroken stretch of very high inland water, high enough for me to remember to check the tide charts when I returned home. Today's mid-day high tide showed at 10.3 feet, a bit above the tides that show for most other days of the month. (The high tides shown ranged from 7.2 feet to 10.3 feet, no wonder it seemed like so much water!)

I followed the coast to the north, stopping often to walk, to soak in the beauty.

inland water, at high tide

Saturday, March 01, 2014

in a greenhouse

Feeling a need for flowers and color I went looking for local gardens with greenhouses that are open to the public.

Today's color treat was provided by the Margaret C. Ferguson Greenhouses at Wellesley College. I have to admit there were moments when I wasn't sure I would be able to find my way back to the entrance! According to the web site there are 16 interconnected greenhouses, many that are open to the public. It felt a bit like a maze. I would turn to the right, pass through several connected greenhouses, turn back, repeat.

There was cactus, there were tropical plants, ferns, herbs & spices. There was even one greenhouse that housed blooming daffodils and tulips, color...

tulips bring color

More photos from today's greenhouse wander can be viewed in the gallery gardens at Wellesley College.

a season of cold

I don't remember the last winter (before this one!) where there was a layer of snow on the ground from late December through March. I live close enough to the coast for the ocean to usually have a warming influence. Not this year!

I was fascinated to see this chart in this morning's Boston Globe showing the average and 2014 temperatures as registered at Logan Airport. Yes, it's been a colder than usual winter. And brr... at the top of the chart is the statement that "Only 20.7% of days in 2014 have stayed above freezing the whole day".

Weather wizard, I think everyone is ready for spring.

weather summary
Source: National Weather Service, as presented in the Boston Globe, 2014-03-01