Sedona Lit is a series by Dr. Elizabeth Oakes, an award winning poet and former Shakespeare professor. A Sedonian of three years, she will highlight the literature, written or performed, of Sedona, past and present.
By Elizabeth Oakes
(October 24, 2016)
Seasons once reminded us we are creatures of the earth, subject to heat and cold, dependent on our harvest for winter’s food. Now we keep the temperature constant, and very few of us grow all our food and store it in a freezer, much less a larder or cold cellar. Moreover, here in Sedona, the four seasons themselves are not clearly defined. One can, say, have New Year’s Day brunch outside in the sun!
Still, we have our seasons. In fall our iconic red rock views change, the sun doesn’t blind us quite as much, and the junipers become the only green as the other trees turn gold and red, like the desert and the rocks, then bare. Too, the light changes. An Emily Dickinson poem begins, “There’s a certain Slant of light.” Although she’s not talking about fall, her words describe the way the light slants laterally instead of directly.
It’s not just the temperature, the changing colors, the light. It’s also that we are creatures of time. The seasons roll around, and we can be fooled that our span of life is circular, like them, rather than linear, like our mortal selves. We seem for a time an analogy to the ever changing but always returning seasons, and we embrace it.
However subtle the change, three Sedonians have caught it in art and words and offer to us their impression of fall, 2016, here, in Sedona –
“Fall” – Michael Chesley Johnson
So much depends
upon a few yellow leaves
drifting down to the creek
one by one
For the last seventeen years, Michael has been a painter of landscapes and a writer for art magazines. Prior to that, he worked as a computer professional and a writer of fantasy and science fiction. Today, he splits his year between the Canadian Maritimes and Arizona. For more, visit www.MichaelChesleyJohnson.com.
“THE AUTUMN PARTY” – Lori Morrison
THE TREES REACH FOR THEIR MOST FESTIVE OUTFITS, PUTTING ON
THEIR MOST COLORFUL BEST.
IT IS TIME TO CELEBRATE THE COMPLETION OF THEIR SUMMER LABORS OF
ENTERTAINING BEES AND BIRDS AND BUTTERFLIES.
THE LAST LEAF DROPS, THE ROOTS ARE EXCITED AND CELEBRATE THE
ARRIVAL OF THE SLUMBER PARTY.
THE REMAINING VIBRANCE MOVES THROUGH THE VEINS AND INTO THE ROOTS ON
JOURNEY TO THE UNDERWORLD.
LISTEN CAREFULLY, THE MINERAL KINGDOM VIBRATES WITH THEIR FINEST JEWELS.
THE SPIRITS OF THE UNDERWORLD ARE PREPARING THEIR FEAST.
THE INSECTS RUSH LIKE CATERERS TO ARRIVE ON TIME, SCURRYING AROUND THE
ACORNS BURIED BY THE SQUIRRELS AND CHIPMUNKS.
THE WATER TABLE BRINGS THE DRINKS AND THE LEAVES OF THE
PAST ARE THE ELEGANT TABLECLOTH OF NOURISHMENT.
THE LOWER WORLD IS NOW IN ITS TIME AND PLACE OF EXHILIRATION AND
FESTIVITIES. BULBS BOUNCE AND ROOTS DANCE TO THE HEARTBEAT OF GAIA.
MAN SLUMBERS IN HIS DISTORTED TRUTH, FOOTSTEPS OF IGNORANCE OF
THE EXCITEMENT UNDERNEATH.
Lori is an emerging author, motivated to write her memoir after a dramatic experience of spiritual transformation in the middle of the crater of a deep lake in Central America. In her upcoming book The Hyacinth Feather she shares a unique elixir of spiritual phenomenon, the questions for mental health as it searches for answers and the enlightenment that comes through trauma and suffering.
“Artistry Unfolds” – Randall Reynolds
Spent leaves spiral down to rest on golden sand,
a cycle complete, regeneration at hand.
Blue skies soar above crimson canyon walls,
while below, grotto shadows rise and fall.
Humans are guests here, walking upon carpets of yellow,
as inner thoughts prevail, nature nudges our hearts to mellow.
As we traverse back and forth across the babbling stream,
our souls are relieved of darkness, washed pure and clean.
Canyon lovers come, one and all. Welcome, West Fork calls!
Randall has been an Arizona resident for twenty-seven years, living first in Sedona and then Tucson and Alpine. He now lives in Santa Fe, NM. He is a Sedona historian and author of the book, The Jack and Helen Frye Story: The Camelot Years of TWA, published by the Red Rock State Park History Press