Chaparral dots the slowly ascending landscape. Tall saguaro cactus fall behind, pine trees joining in as you climb from low dessert to high. Around a gentle curve of highway a surprise juts from the horizon, revealing a deep orange interior of smooth, naked rock that comprise wind and rain cut sculptures. Jaw dropping.
All of a sudden, the visitor to Sedona is transported to the backdrop of many a Hollywood western. But instead of John Wayne or a posse rumbling horse-top, a sprinkling of Southwestern buildings snuggle up to the sides of highway 89, dwarfed by towering mesas and time carved mountains that rise in surrealism from the dessert floor. Like huge mounds of citrus sherbet, each sculpture is a compilation of layers of sandstone, the darkest umbers closest to the earth, in ever lightening shades- layers of orange and rose toward a cerulean sky.
Small wonder that this has been a holy place for millenium of native people, now a center of ‘new ageism’ and spiritual retreat. There is a pervasive feel of the mystical in the wind that has sculpted the cliffs for ions.
Western religions have a firm foothold as well.
Mother nature had a treat in store in the black night of February. Thunder snow. Winds howled and the sky split with thunderous slashes of light. Swirls of white blew through the night. In the morning the mesa were dusted with white and the air veritably cracked with cold. The earth that bakes under a relentless sun throughout most of the year was now blanketed unnaturally white.